The Georgetown men’s basketball team staged a second half comeback and scraped by with a 73-72 win over St. John’s on Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden. With sophomore guard Mac McClung out with a foot injury, the already short-handed Hoyas (13-9, 3-6 Big East) went down to the Red Storm (13-10, 2-8 Big East) by as many as 17 points, but came through with a much needed conference victory. Junior guard Jahvon Blair, who Head Coach Patrick Ewing inserted into the starting lineup to replace McClung, had perhaps his best game as a Hoya, with a career-high 23 points and five assists.
The game started slow offensively for both teams, with St. John’s up just 4-0 nearly four minutes in, when senior center Omer Yurtseven finally got the Hoyas on the board with a short jumper. After junior guard Rasheem Dunn put the Red Storm up 7-2 with an and-one, Blair began to heat up for Georgetown, with eight straight points to give his team the lead. The game remained tight from that point, as senior guard Mustapha Heron converted his first of four 3-pointers to tie it at 14 midway through the first half.
With nine minutes until the break, Blair hit his third shot from beyond the arc to put Georgetown up 20-17, but the Johnnies responded well, going on a 16-5 run. The Red Storm committed zero first half turnovers and found substantial offensive contributions from several players, including Dunn who had 10 points at the break. Senior guard Jagan Mosely converted on a three with two minutes left for his first basket of the game, but the Hoyas trailed by 11 at the half after Dunn hit a jumper at the buzzer.
Coming out of the intermission, the Johnnies continued to stretch out their lead, making it 50-33 after a putback slam from sophomore forward Josh Roberts. But after Ewing took a timeout to stop the bleeding, Blair stepped up with a huge 3-pointer to kickstart the comeback which would last the rest of the game. Mosely began to get more involved on the offensive end, throwing down a dunk and then converting on an and-one layup a minute later that cut the margin to nine points. A pair of threes from Heron over the next three minutes pushed the lead back to 13, but Mosely continued to make plays, finding Yurtseven for a jumper, who then assisted junior forward Jamorko Pickett on an and-one layup which cut it to eight midway through the half.
Following a clean first half offensively, the Red Storm got sloppy in the second, committing 12 turnovers, and the Hoyas took advantage. At the nine-minute mark, Pickett stole the ball from freshman guard Julian Champagnie and Blair’s layup at the other end pulled Georgetown back to within four points. Champagnie made up for his mistake with a quick jumper, but Blair again responded, this time with a floater off a Pickett assist. Two minutes later, the game was tied after graduate guard Terrell Allen found Yurtseven underneath for a dunk.
The Red Storm would not go down easily though, and quickly went back up four off a pair of Dunn free throws and a layup from Champagnie. With 2:25 remaining in the game, Mosely again came up big with a short jumper that cut it to one, but junior guard LJ Figueroa responded with a midrange shot on the next St. John’s possession. Down by three with under a minute to go, Mosely found Yurtseven for a hook shot in the paint. On the next possession, the Johnnies committed a shot clock violation after Dunn missed a pair of layups.
With 20 seconds left and a chance to take the lead, the ball came to Mosely who broke the Red Storm press with passing. Receiving the ball back at midcourt, he dribbled hard towards the paint and dished it to Yurtseven who converted the go-ahead layup off the glass. On the other end, Mosely stole it from Dunn, sealing the Georgetown win.
While Blair led the team in scoring, Mosely and Yurtseven also had standout performances. Mosely posted 15 points, seven rebounds and five assists, while Yurtseven dominated down low, notching 13 points and 15 rebounds.
Next up for the Hoyas is a midweek matchup against conference-leading Seton Hall (16-5, 8-1 Big East) back home at Capital One Arena. Tip-off is set for 8:30 p.m. ET, with the game broadcast on Fox Sports 1 and live stats available at guhoyas.com. For continued coverage of all Georgetown winter sports, follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter.
Image Credits: John Picker/The Georgetown Voice