WASHINGTON — Otto Porter scored 20 points, and Georgetown made a season-high 15 steals and got a rare first-half boost from a walk-on Wednesday night in a 74-52 win over Seton Hall.
Markel Starks added 16 points as the Hoyas (15-4, 5-3 Big East) never trailed, taking advantage of Seton Hall’s turnovers to take a 20-4 lead less than 8½ minutes into the game.
Georgetown has won five of six after an 0-2 start in the conference, but coach John Thompson III’s search for help from his thin bench reached a new level when he inserted junior John Caprio, who had played 13 minutes all season, into the rotation with the outcome still in doubt.
Caprio had three points, two rebounds, an assist and a steal in five first-half minutes after the Pirates had pulled within seven. The student section began chanting “Ca-pri-o!” after his putback gave Georgetown a 32-18 lead.
Coach Kevin Willard tried his 10th different starting lineup of the season, but 25 turnovers — including seven in the first 7 minutes — and poor 3-point shooting (5 for 20) kept his team playing catch-up all evening. Seton Hall entered the game making a conference-best 8.2 3-pointers per game.
The Pirates were also hurt by foul trouble. Eugene Teague and Brandon Mobley both had four with 16:19 remaining — which was also when the Hoyas started shooting 1-and-1 at the line. Georgetown attempted 22 free throws in the second half.
Georgetown has been playing better recently despite losing Greg Whittington for academic reasons six games ago. The Hoyas have been playing more up-tempo in his absence, and one first-half sequence showed how it’s paying off: After Seton Hall’s Fuquan Edwin missed a 3-pointer, freshman D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera grabbed the rebound and pushed the ball upcourt to Starks, who fed Nate Lubick for a layup before the Pirates had any chance to set up on defense.
With Whittington out and starter Mikael Hopkins regularly ineffective, Thompson has been putting all sorts of unusual combinations on the floor. Aaron Bowen scored the first winning basket of his three-year Georgetown career in Saturday’s win over Louisville, and Stephen Domingo made a first-half appearance Wednesday for his first game action since Jan. 12.
But Caprio seemed a most unlikely choice. He had played only 42 minutes over three seasons, scoring eight points while committing 10 turnovers.
Caprio returned in the second half — after the game was essentially decided — and finished with four points, six rebounds and two assists.
The lights dimmed for several minutes during the second half because of a storm in the Washington area, but the game was not stopped and play did not appear to be affected.
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