Georgetown coach John Thompson admitted he was “terrified” to play the final 1:29 without his three leading rebounders and his team’s 22-point lead dwindled to seven.
Otto Porter and Nate Lubick had fouled out, and Greg Whittington was declared academically ineligible earlier in the day.
But thanks to Porter’s 20 points, the Hoyas hung on for a 74-65 win over Providence on Wednesday night.
Georgetown (12-3, 2-2 Big East) has won eight straight over the Friars (9-8, 1-4).
Bryce Cotton, who entered the game leading Big East players with 21.6 points per game, paced Providence with 21 points.
The Hoyas were playing their second straight game without Whittington. Thompson said in a statement that Whittington “will not participate in competition until further notice.” After the game, Thompson confirmed Whittington might return at some point.
For now, the Hoyas are adapting without Whittington’s 12.1 points and 7.0 rebounds per game, which both rank second on the team.
“What I’ve talked about more than anything with them is, ‘Who’s going to make up for Greg’s rebounding?’” Thompson said. “A lot of times, I think people start thinking about scoring and this and that. But who’s going to make up for Greg’s rebounding?”
Thompson probably hasn’t yet found an answer to that question. Providence outrebounded Georgetown, 39-27 — the Hoyas’ worst rebounding deficit of the season.
“Greg is one of our better players, and we miss him,” Thompson said.
Georgetown overcame that issue by shooting 53 percent from the field (25 of 47) and 42 percent (5 of 12) on 3-pointers.
Markel Starks had 16 points and seven assists, and Lubick added 10 points.
The offensive struggles that have plagued the Hoyas this season scarcely appeared in the first half. Georgetown shot 67 percent from the field (16 of 24) and 4 of 8 on 3-pointers in the opening frame.
Porter went on a personal 8-0 run early in the first half and made a floater at the buzzer to cap an 8-0 Georgetown run that gave the Hoyas a 38-19 halftime lead. That was their biggest halftime advantage of the season, and they’re now 11-0 when leading at the break.
“Obviously, in the first half, we looked lackluster,” Providence coach Ed Cooley said. “We didn’t play with a lot of energy. Credit Georgetown. They came out with purpose.”