Georgetown (23-4, 13-3 BE) faced an unexpected handful in the St. John’s Red Storm (10-17, 4-11 BE) last night. The Hoyas couldn’t repeat the 32-point rout they enjoyed earlier this year at Madison Square Garden, but walked out with an important 64-52 victory.
There were a lot of people dressed in jerseys on Costume Night at the Verizon Center, but in the first half, very few played like basketball players. Neither team could find any offensive rhythm in the early goings, committing a combined 19 turnovers (GU-6, SJ-13).
Sophomore forward DaJuan Summers provided most of the Hoyas’ offensive production throughout the night, scoring nine of his game-high 21 points in the first half. Senior guard Eugene Lawrence (9 pts) scored the first seven points for the Red Storm. Missed jump-shots, lay-ups and even dunks abounded. Junior guard Jessie Sapp’s three-pointer from the corner with 55 seconds left in the period gave the Hoyas the slight edge in the first-half study of scoring futility, 27-23.
“The first half was one of those halves where we just missed,” coach John Thompson III said after the game. “DaJuan missed two dunks and we missed a bunch of chippies. If those shots go in you’d feel a lot better at halftime.”
It didn’t take long for St. John’s to overcome the deficit. Junior forward Anthony Mason Jr. (12 pts) opened up the scoring with one of the few highlights of the night, taking a lob pass from the top of the key and slamming it home. Freshman forward D.J. Kennedy (4 pts) scored in transition moments later to tie the game at 27-27.
The Hoyas managed some highlight fodder of their own moments later, when senior guard Jonathan Wallace (8 pts) and senior forward Patrick Ewing Jr. traversed the court with a two-man transition game that ended with a rim-rattling alley-oop from Ewing. Mason answered right away with a three-pointer, silencing the crowd
“We want the ball to be in Mason’s hands,” St. John’s coach Norm Roberts said. “We want him making plays for us and he’s gotten better at that.”
The two teams traded baskets until the halfway point of the second, when a Summers three-pointer sparked a 14-3 run, giving the Hoyas their first double-digit lead of the night at 57-44. Senior center Roy Hibbert began to insert himself, scoring five of his 17 points and recording a block in the Georgetown run.
“We were able to throw it in a lot more in the second half,” Thompson said of Hibbert. “He just needed to be more assertive inside so we could get the ball in to him.”
The Hoyas fought hard to maintain the cushion against the Red Storm, but managed to walk out of the Verizon Center still atop the Big East Conference standings.