Hoyas face top-ranked Hoosiers next
NEW YORK -- Most of the pregame attention was given to a UCLA freshman who had yet to appear in a college game.
It should have been directed at a sophomore from Georgetown who was returning after being injured in the season opener.
Otto Porter had 18 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, five blocks and three steals to lead the Hoyas to a 78-70 victory over the 11th-ranked Bruins on Monday night in the semifinals of the Legends Classic at Barclays Center.
"Otto's first full game and look at the stat sheet. That was a full game," Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. "Then there was a lot of other stuff he did that doesn't show up on this piece of paper. It was good to have him back out there."
Porter was hit in the head six minutes into the Hoyas' season opener. He sat out the second game of the season and then came back with a flourish.
"I just let the game come to me, and that's what I want to do, and we'll all get open shots," said the 6-foot-8 Porter, who led the team as a freshman in rebounding (6.8) and field goal percentage (52.5 percent).
He seemed to be right as Georgetown shot 54.5 percent for the game (30-for-55), including 60 percent in the second half (18-for-30).
Markel Starks had a career-high 23 points for the Hoyas (3-0), who will face No. 1 Indiana in Tuesday night's championship game. The Hoosiers beat Georgia 66-53.
The 6-foot-6 Muhammad, one of the most highly sought after high school players last season, was declared eligible by the NCAA on Friday and this was his first game. He finished with 15 points on 5-for-10 shooting and was 2-for-4 from 3-point range in 25 minutes of playing time.
The NCAA said that UCLA's sanctions against Muhammad were sufficient after the school required him to sit out three games and repay $1,600 in impermissible benefits. The NCAA and UCLA found that Muhammad accepted travel and lodging during three unofficial visits to Duke and North Carolina.
"It was really exciting to get down to the court for the first time," Muhammad said. "I just finally was getting the jitters out and playing college basketball for the first time, and hopefully I'll get better. I think a lot better. I didn't do a lot well tonight."
His coach disagrees.
"I thought he did a good job. I didn't plan on playing him all those minutes," Bruins coach Ben Howland said. "He's been restricted with a shoulder injury. You can see he's got a lot of work to do to catch up conditioning-wise."
The Hoyas opened the second half on a 12-0 run -- with Greg Whittington hitting two 3s -- to take a 43-29 lead, their biggest of the game.
The Bruins (3-1) were within 59-53 on a 3-pointer by Norman Powell. But the Hoyas went on a 7-1 run that was capped by a hook shot by Nate Lubick with 6:17 to go. The Bruins did get within 77-70 on a 3 by Muhammad with 50 seconds to play.
"I think at the end we were all a little more comfortable, and I was just trying to gel with teammates and get used to the system," Muhammad said. "I'm looking for us to get better as a team and myself as a player."
Jordan Adams had 22 points to extend his UCLA record of a freshman scoring 20 or more points in every game to start his career.
Travis Wear added 12 points and eight rebounds for UCLA.
The Bruins played the last 12:13 without starting forward and Travis' twin, David Wear, who appeared to injure his back when he crashed hard to the court as he tried to defend a layup by Lubick. Wear remained on the bench the rest of the game but was in obvious discomfort.
"David Wear's back is really sore right now from the fall he took," Howland said.
The Hoyas seemed to get the best of the physical play despite being outrebounded 40-31 by the Bruins. The Hoyas finished with eight blocks, while UCLA had four.
"They're huge," Thompson said. "We just wanted to do what we do and limit them."
UCLA had scored at least 80 points in its first three games.