The Georgetown Hoyas men’s basketball team (6-14, 0-9 Big East) lost 90-73 to the St. John’s Red Storm (12-9, 4-6 Big East) Thursday night in McDonough Arena. The defeat marks a grim milestone: Georgetown’s tenth consecutive loss. Junior guard Julian Champagnie led the Red Storm in scoring with 27 points, shooting six-of-twelve from behind the arc. Graduate guard Donald Carey led the Hoyas with a career-high 23 points, followed by graduate guard Kaiden Rice with 20, including five-of-ten from three.
Thursday night’s on-campus matchup was highly anticipated and many hoped that the student crowd might bring some much-needed energy to the team. However, Georgetown looked like the worse team from the start, losing the tip and allowing St. John’s graduate forward Aaron Wheeler a three-point attempt and a second chance dunk to give the Red Storm the lead, 2-0.
The rest of the first half was back-and-forth. The Red Storm would start to pull ahead, and then the Hoyas would make things close again. Georgetown was not quite able to overtake St. John’s, but they never let the Red Storm go up by more than 10 either. But the scoreboard was misleading: St. John’s was clearly the better offensive team. Their quick ball movement left Georgetown struggling to keep up and earned them many open three-point shots. The Hoyas were lucky that the Red Storm shot only 34.6% from three because the game had the potential to be much more of a blowout.
The Hoyas, on the other hand, struggled to get things going offensively. Compared to St. John’s, their ball movement felt forced and inefficient. Most of their possessions resulted in an occasionally successful drive into the paint with a layup attempt with a couple of St. John’s players crowding the basket, or a forced, contested three. Granted, the Hoyas did seem to have an unlucky shooting night with several layups and jumpers rolling out off the rim, but they still ended the first half down 45-38.
The second half was much of the same. While Georgetown’s press was effective on defense, whenever they got a defensive stop, they failed to capitalize on it by scoring. Similarly, every time they seemed to get some momentum going with a fast break layup or a three-pointer, St. John’s was quick to respond with a basket of their own.
The Red Storm started the second half with a 10-0 run to go up 55-38. Between sloppy passing that led to turnovers and poor shot selection and rebounding, the struggling Hoyas just couldn’t keep up. With just under eight minutes to play, Champagnie hit a three-point jumper to give the Red Storm a 26-point lead, 76-50, marking their largest lead of the game.
Then, for a few minutes, it seemed like Georgetown might make a comeback. They went on a 21-6 run, with Carey contributing eight points and Rice contributing nine, to bring the score to 82-71 with 3:49 to play. By that point, though, there was no steam left in Georgetown’s tank and the Red Storm went back up by 17. A Carey free throw and a Rice three cut St. John’s lead to 13, bringing the score to 90-77 with 29 seconds left. Freshman guard Aminu Mohammed closely guarded the ball as the Red Storm brought it up the court. As they crossed half court, Georgetown Head Coach Patrick Ewing disappointedly signaled across the floor to Mohammed not to foul; the Hoyas would not try to win it and handed over a 90-77 victory to the Red Storm.
Once again, roster depth proved to be an issue for the Hoyas. Six members of the Blue and Gray (Carey, Dante Harris, Mohammed, Collin Holloway, Rice, and Ryan Mutombo) played 23 minutes or more each, while the other five players that day played for a combined 16 minutes.
Scoring in the paint was also an issue. For a team with three centers who all typically see decent minutes, the Hoyas are surprisingly weak when it comes to scoring at the rim. The freshman Mutombo seems to be developing a stronger finish, though, tallying nine points on the night. He has begun to move into junior Timothy Ighoefe’s role as the team’s go-to center, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him starting in Ighoefe’s place soon.
Until Georgetown can develop an effective rotation and consistently finish at the rim, however, it will be a rough road ahead.
The Hoyas will attempt to snap their losing streak on Sunday, Feb. 6 against No. 15 Providence. The Friars enter the matchup coming off of a win over St. John’s and looking to extend a six-game winning streak. Tip-off is scheduled for 12:00 PM at Capital One Arena. The game will be broadcasted live on Fox Sports 1. Follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter for more updates and continued coverage of all Georgetown sports.