ROSEMONT, Ill. — Jason Clark, Georgetown’s leading scorer, was saddled with more responsibility than usual Tuesday night. His running mate at guard, Markel Starks, came down with a stomach ailment and was too weak to play.
Clark had to deal with the pressure of DePaul’s defense with his ball handling and was also able to locate his shot. He scored from long range and on drives, finishing with a career-high 31 points as the 10th-ranked Hoyas held on for an 83-75 victory.
“I think we have versatile pieces. Obviously a lot of the duty did fall on Jason today. I thought he did, for the most part, a pretty good job but he also had some help,” Hoyas coach John Thompson III said.
“It was a difficult game for him in that he had to deal with their press and pressure most of the time, but also he was clearly in a groove and the ball was going in. I thought he played well, despite those foul shots.”
Clark was 11 of 14 from the field, including 5 of 7 on 3-pointers — he made only four 3-pointers in his previous six games — but did miss five of nine free throws.
“I think it was just coming through our offense,” Clark said of his big scoring night. “I’ve been on a stretch where I haven’t been making a lot of 3-pointers but today they were falling.”
The Hoyas (15-3, 5-2 Big East) outrebounded DePaul 47-25 and consistently worked inside for second shots. Henry Sims added 16 points and Otto Porter had 15 rebounds for Georgetown.
“Those are almost like pick 6s in football, they’re uncontested,” DePaul coach Oliver Purnell said.
“He (Clark) started with a 3 stepping behind a screen and they weren’t easy shots…. Then he got a few easy ones going to the basket. He made some really tough shots.”
Cleveland Melvin scored 19 points and Moses Morgan had 17, including five 3-pointers, for the Blue Demons (10-8, 1-5), who lost their fourth straight.
Clark’s dunk on a break with 6:29 left gave the Hoyas a 14-point lead, but DePaul kept scrapping on defense and cut it to seven on a jumper by Morgan with 2:44 left. But Clark made two free throws and Jabril Trawick had a three-point play for the Hoyas.
Clark, who had 13 points in the first half, connected on his third 3 in a quick 7-0 run as Georgetown went up by 11 points late in the half.
But DePaul’s Brandon Young dribbled for about 5 seconds and then hit a long 3-pointer at the buzzer to sliced the lead to 37-31.
DePaul scored the first five points of the second half, but just as the Blue Demons were about to gain the momentum, Clark responded with another 3-pointer and Sims scored consecutive baskets after grabbing offensive rebounds. After a timeout, Clark made a steal and drove in for another basket to cap a 9-0 run and put the lead back to 10.
Morgan found the range on two 3-pointers and Melvin had a jumper in an 8-0 run by the Blue Demons that made it a two-point game with 14 minutes to go.
Once again the Hoyas’ strong rebounding and Clark stopped the run. Clark had a driving reverse layup, Hollis Thompson scored on a follow to build it back to eight and Clark made another 3-pointer in a 12-2 run for a 60-48 lead.
“I don’t think it’s anything long-term. I’m not sure whether he ate something or had the bug,” Thompson said.
The Hoyas have won 11 straight against DePaul and lead the series 20-6
“Wins in this league are difficult to come by and road wins in this league are very difficult to come by, so to that extent it was a good day,” Thompson said.
“I don’t like our execution down at the end on a lot of different fronts. But I don’t want to take anything away from their effort … But we made it a lot harder than it had to be.”