Pregame Primer: Men’s Basketball Looks for Revenge at St. John’s

January 26, 2019

The Georgetown men’s basketball team (12-7, 2-4 Big East) travels to Madison Square Garden for its rematch with St. John’s (15-4, 3-4 Big East) on Sunday. The Hoyas could leapfrog the Red Storm in the standings with a win and exact some revenge from their 97-94 overtime loss to the Johnnies three weeks ago.

As he has all year, senior center Jessie Govan led the Hoyas in that matchup with a 25-point double-double, and freshman forward Josh LeBlanc added a double-double for the Hoyas as well. Freshman guard James Akinjo, senior guard Greg Malinowski, and sophomore guard/forward Jamorko Pickett each hit double digits that afternoon, but the Hoyas’ third leading scorer on the season, freshman guard Mac McClung, missed the first matchup with an injury, and should boost the Hoyas’ offense on Sunday. Since the start of conference play, Govan has improved his game, averaging 23 points and 9.8 rebounds, and McClung has averaged 16.7 points as the second option. Akinjo, who is second in the Big East in assists, has averaged seven per game since conference play began, helping Georgetown to the conference lead in total assists and assists per game.

Three weeks ago, the Johnnies left Capital One Arena with an overtime win behind 37 points from junior guard Shamorie Ponds and 15 team steals. The Red Storm averages 8.6 steals per game, far outstripping the rest of the conference, and their quick hands on defense have led to a +4.8 average turnover margin. The Johnnies will look to control the turnover battle again, as the Hoyas sit ninth in the conference with a -1.4 average differential. Each of St. John’s five starters average double-digit scoring on the season, though none averages over seven rebounds on the year, so Govan, LeBlanc, and the rest of the Hoyas’ bigs could have big days on the glass. The Hoyas will also have to stay switched on defensively, as the Johnnies are the second-best field goal and 3-point shooting team in the conference, behind the Creighton team (12-8, 3-4 Big East) that scored 91 points in D.C. on Monday.

Both teams will be looking for the win to build momentum in their conference seasons, as both have gone 1-3 since their last meeting. The game tips off at noon on FOX. Follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter for more coverage of men’s basketball and the rest of Georgetown’s sports teams.

Jorge DeNeve
Los Angeles native. Still wondering where the Galaxy went wrong and decided buying Jermaine Jones was a good idea.

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