Leading the Hoyas to a climb to first place in the final year of the Big East as it is known, Porter averages a near double-double with 18 points and 7.5 rebounds through 15 games of conference play. He is a trending topic for player of the year honors and slowing him down will be the key to Rutgers pulling off an upset over the seventh-ranked Hoyas tonight at the Verizon Center.
"I don't know if anybody's prepared for Otto Porter," said Rutgers head coach Mike Rice. "Ask Jim Boeheim. Ask Kevin Ollie. To me, he's the national player of the year. He's as consistent as anybody's been all year."
Rutgers slowed Porter for 30 minutes in its first meeting with Georgetown, but the sophomore forward exploded late and single-handedly won a 69-63 victory over the Scarlet Knights. Highlighted by 10 straight points during a run in the second half, Porter finished with 19 and a season-high 14 rebounds.
" The Rutgers (13-13, 4-11) rematch comes tonight and the Hoyas have to prepare for two major changes.
Sophomore Kadeem Jack may not start but his recent inspired play has him in line for major minutes in the post. Jack played seven minutes and went scoreless against Georgetown last time and will now be asked to be a major scoring threat.
"He has always had the potential," Rice said of Jack. "Now he's putting what he's learning into games."
Rutgers yet again takes the court without leading scorer Elijah Carter, who underwent surgery on his fractured fibula this week. Carter was the spark on the Rutgers offense that had the Hoyas on upset alert at the RAC.
Along with his game-high 23 points, Carter was one of the key guys defending Porter in the post, leaving the job solely up to Dane Miller tonight.
"Eli does a lot for us defensively," said fellow sophomore guard Myles Mack. "He's not just a great scorer, but I know all of us are stepping up for him."
1 -- Rutgers has just one Big East home game left … ever. With the Catholic Seven set to leave, taking its name and visitation rights to Madison Square Garden with it, Tuesday night will be the last Big East basketball game in the history of the Louis Brown Athletic Center.
6.8 -- Kadeem Jack's scoring average is up 6.8 points per game since Carter's injury. When Carter went down, Jack upped his average to 11.6 points and six rebounds per game.
9 -- Behind Carter's 23 points, Myles Mack led Rutgers with just nine in the first meeting with Georgetown.
11 -- Rutgers sits right now as the 11th seed in the Big East tournament, pitting them against No. 14 in a 9 p.m. tip next Tuesday night in New York.
26 -- As a freshman, Dane Miller's career-high 26 points came against Georgetown in a 71-68 upset over the Hoyas. Like tonight, Georgetown was No. 7 in the country that night.