Updated at: 12/08/2012 12:35 PM
By JOSEPH WHITE
(AP) WASHINGTON - Georgetown held Towson scoreless over the final 4 1/2 minutes, and the No. 15 Hoyas won their second home clankfest in a row, recovering from a 17-point first half to beat Towson 46-40 Saturday.
Greg Whittington scored 11 points, and Mikael Hopkins and Otto Porter had 10 apiece for the Hoyas (7-1), who shot 17 percent in the first half and 29 percent for the game. Georgetown won with defense, forcing 22 turnovers and pulling away _ if it could be called that _ with a 4-0 game-ending run.
Georgetown transfer Jerrelle Benimon had 11 points and 16 rebounds to lead the Tigers (4-5), who are rebuilding with only three scholarship players from last season’s 1-31 team.
When Georgetown set the school record for scoring futility in the shot clock era with a 37-36 over Tennessee on Nov. 30, coach John Thompson III said he hadn’t been a part of a game like it since he was 8 years old. Now he can say he’s seen two in eight days.
Unable to get quality shots, Georgetown started a staggering 2 for 24 from the field before Whittington’s 3-pointer cut Towson’s lead to 12-11 late in the first half. The Hoyas had more shots blocked (6) than made field goals (5) in the half, but they connected on a pair of backdoor plays in the final two minutes to take a 17-15 lead at the break.
The Hoyas also hurt themselves at the free throw line, making 16 of 24 attempts for the game.
Georgetown’s only loss came in overtime against No. 1 Indiana, and Towson was the first of four home opponents in the soft part of the schedule that is supposed to give Thompson a chance to give his bench some work.
Instead, the supposedly easy games are turning into challenges. Benimon, who knows Thompson’s system inside-out, played traffic cop on defense for a team that seemed to know what was coming from the Hoyas’ Princeton Offense, especially in the first half. Towson’s defense blanketed Georgetown’s shooters, crowded the passing lanes and frequently cut off the backdoor option, forcing the Hoyas to settle for jumpers.
Towson wasn’t shooting much better, but the Tigers had better looks at the basket and had several shots rim out. But they were also hampered by 10 first-half turnovers.
The Hoyas finally started taking the ball inside in the second half, drawing fouls and getting to the free throw line. Towson’s freshman point guard, Jerome Hairston, kept pace by scoring eight straight points for the Tigers early in the half, including a pair of 3-pointers.
Hairston’s 3-pointer with 4:35 remaining cut Georgetown’s lead to 42-40, but those were Towson’s last points. Turnovers and air balls haunted the Tigers the rest of the way.
Benimon is one three Towson transfers from Big East schools, including Bilal Dixon (Providence) and Mike Burwell (South Florida). The Tigers have also yet to play at home: Saturday’s game was the ninth in a 10-game road stretch to start the season.
Dixon scored five points and seven rebounds before fouling out with 6:31 to play.
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(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)