WASHINGTON — Otto Porter made it a lot easier for Georgetown coach John Thompson III to find the positive in his team’s performance Saturday.
Porter scored the final six points, including two free throws with 8.5 seconds left, helping No. 10 Georgetown overcome a sloppy effort to beat Rutgers 52-50 Saturday.
“He is composed,” Thompson III said. “Otto doesn’t get rattled. He just plays the game.”
Center Harry Sims led Georgetown (16-3, 6-2 Big East) with 12 points, 10 rebounds and two assists. He made 8 of 13 free throws, part of a 25-of-36 effort from the line for the Hoyas.
The Hoyas made just 12 field goals, matching Harvard for the fewest in a win this season. Harvard beat Florida State, 46-41, Nov. 25 with just 12 makes.
Mike Poole made a long 2-pointer with 2 seconds left on the shot clock and Eli Carter made a 3-pointer to extend Rutgers’ lead to 50-45 with 2:35 left.
Porter then made a layup with 1:36 left, and after Rutgers (11-9, 3-4) committed an offensive foul, Porter made a jumper with 1:10 left to tie the game at 50.
After Porter’s free throws, Carter, who scored a game-high 14 points, missed a shot at the buzzer.
“I told our players that they played with tremendous heart, playing as hard as they could,” Rutgers coach Mike Rice said. “But in the Big East, that’s good enough. You have to have some purpose to that and some toughness.”
Georgetown has won three straight games and avoided becoming Rutgers’ third win over a top-10 team. The Scarlet Knights beat their other top-10 opponents — then-No. 10 Florida on Dec. 29, and then-No. 8 Connecticut on Jan. 7. But both those wins came in New Jersey.
Georgetown is 18-2 at home against Rutgers, including a 10-game winning streak that dates back to 2000.
Georgetown has won 10 of its last 11 matchups with Rutgers. But the Scarlet Knights — looking for their first winning season since 2005-06 — entered the game stronger than it has been in recent years.
Georgetown took its first lead with 4:16 left in the first half. At that point, the Hoyas were shooting 3 of 21 from the field, but they had made 14 of 16 free throws and rebounded half of their 18 misses.
Rutgers finished 4 of 7 from the free throw line.
“There were some bizarre plays, some bizarre whistles,” Rice said. “Before I get into it, I’d like to look on replay to see if they were the correct call. Because again, we do foul. We did play a lot without a purpose as far as our positioning and playing with our hands instead of our feet and our bodies. But it was interesting the last two minutes.”
Rutgers used a 7-0 run to take a 25-20 halftime lead. Georgetown didn’t make a field goal in the first half’s final 9:38 and fished the half shooting 3 of 23 with nine turnovers.
The Hoyas’ offense picked up slightly in the second half, and they finished 12-of-41 shooting with 14 turnovers.
“Our defense won the game for us,” Thompson said.
Georgetown, which entered the game second in the Big East making 37.2 percent of its 3-pointers, missed all eight of its 3-pointers in the first half. But Markel Starks and Jason Clark, the Hoyas’ starting backcourt, each made 3-pointers before the second-half’s first timeout to shake off a combined 0 for 5 from the field in the first half.
Starks missed Georgetown’s win at DePaul on Tuesday because of a stomach ailment, but he returned to the starting lineup Saturday. He scored three points.