There was only so much to glean from Georgetown's 74-52 defeat of Seton Hall at Verizon Center on Wednesday night.
The Hoyas scored the first seven points and never trailed by less than five, making the Pirates look like little more than standard-fare flotsam invited to town for a November guarantee game.
But there were a few things to learn from a bludgeoning made to look nominally closer thanks to the Hall's 17-7 run to finish things out. In a related note, there was nothing to learn in the final eight minutes. But here are some takeaways:
1. The night's numbers of note were the minutes for Georgetown's starters.
The Hoyas (15-4, 5-3 Big East) simply weren't deep when the season started, and logic suggested the suspension of Greg Whittington wouldn't help matters.
So even if Aaron Bowen and John Caprio are going to provide unexpected star turns, the crux of the Hoyas' rotation is going to play significant minutes. In turn, the opportunity to provide a little extra rest must be fully exploited.
Otto Porter played 23 minutes, his first game of less than 30 minutes since Dec. 10. Markel Starks' 33 minutes were his fewest since Jan. 8. For the first time since Dec. 22, no Hoya played 35 minutes.
And for just the second time in conference play, the Hoyas had only two players with at least 30 minutes (Starks and Nate Lubick, who played exactly 30 minutes).
This is not likely the start of a trend. But lightening the workload on Porter, even for a night, certainly can't hurt. Speaking of which ...
2. Otto Porter's blistering run continues.
There will be no argument here for causation as Porter continues to shred opponents in Whittington's absence. Georgetown, and surely Porter included, would like to have a starting-caliber player available rather than wearing a tie on the bench.
But here are Porter's averages in six games since Whittington was shelved: 19.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 1.8 assists, all with a glittering .557 field goal percentage (39 of 70).
Those are exceptional numbers, the sort that carried over a couple months warrant significant All-America consideration. Porter isn't better because Whittington's not around, but he is certainly being asked to do more --- and emphatically delivering some sublime performances, including 20 points, four steals and three assists against Seton Hall.
3. The Pirates might be headed for a Tuesday date at Madison Square Garden.
There's no way around it: Seton Hall (13-8, 2-6) just isn't very good.
Georgetown coach John Thompson III expressed concern about defending the perimeter, and watching the Pirates it was clear they had no problems bombing away from the outside and little chance of mustering much of anything in the post.
The Hoyas' defense surely played a role, but Seton Hall's 25 turnovers were not entirely of Georgetown's doing. At this point, the Pirates are on pace to soar past 500 giveaways for the season.
"They’re just not grasping it," coach Kevin Willard said. "Unless you’ve gone through this league and kind of understand it [it's difficult]. We now have four teams that play zone, you have four teams that play really tough man to man, you have four teams that play no defense, we have some teams that play half zone half man. Playing Sunday and only having two days to get ready to get ready for Georgetown is a tough task for a young team. I was worried about that."
The bottom four teams in the Big East will be stuck playing in the Tuesday play-in games at the conference tournament, and there's a clear divide between the top nine and the bottom five. Someone out of Rutgers (3-6), Seton Hall (2-6), Providence (2-6), DePaul (1-6) and South Florida (1-7) is getting an automatic golden ticket to the event's second day.
If it continues to play as it did last night, that someone won't be the Pirates.
4. If Wednesday wasn't high tide for John Caprio, it was darn close.
The walk-on from Seton Hall Prep offered a splendid turn, scoring four points and grabbing six rebounds in the most extensive playing time in conference play in his career.
Consider: Caprio played 11 minutes against Big East teams coming into Wednesday. He played 12 against Seton Hall --- and played quite well, too.
While some of his work came in garbage time at the end, Caprio played for much of the final 4:38 of the first half and helped the Hoyas maintain a double-digit lead into the break.
"Coach is always telling me to be ready to contribute, so that’s what I tried to do today," Caprio said. "I hope I did pretty well."
5. The second half should help D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera.
The expression on the freshman's face when he missed a foul shot with 12:48 to play was the look of a man who couldn't figure out why the ball wouldn't go in the basket.
He was 1 of 10 from the floor against Louisville. And, to that point, he was 1-for-6 against Seton Hall.
But the next free throw fell, and Smith-Rivera wound up adding a transition jumper and a 3-pointer later in the second half. He finished with 11 points, six rebounds and three steals, perhaps putting to rest the possibility of a slump before it had a chance to even develop.
Regardless, it was something to build on --- as was just about everything about the Hoyas' rout besides their shaky foul shooting (18 of 32).
--- Patrick Stevens