After a less than memorable first half, Georgetown-St. John’s brought the drama again down the stretch as the Hoyas survived the Johnnies at the Garden 69-66.
Hoya big man Jessie Govan led the way with 18 points and 13 rebounds including a clutch three-pointer with 25 seconds left that made the difference.
St. John’s was down by as many as eight points in the second half, but managed to comeback to tie it on multiple occasions.
The finish to the game reminded many of the old battles between current coaches Patrick Ewing and Chris Mullin when they were players at their respective schools.
“It feels good.” Coach Ewing said about the win. “I’ve had a lot of great memories (At MSG). I’ve had ups and downs and had a lot of good and bad memories against (Chris Mullin) but it was good to be back.”
In the first half, both teams struggled on both ends and both teams struggled to get anything going.
Georgetown used rebounding to stay in the game while the Red Storm relied on points in the paint and forcing turnovers to stay within striking distance. In the end, it was a first half that got the Garden crowd antsy. They were waiting for something big to happen.
“That was a game was like the old times a knock down, drag out fight,” Ewing said. “This was a great way to bounce back. They did all of the things they needed to do to win.”
This is Georgetown-St. John’s. At the Garden. Mullin vs Ewing. Drama was coming and it came in the form of a late Red Storm comeback and a Govan three-pointer in the final seconds.
“I’ve been riding him a lot trying to get the best out of him,” Ewing said of Govan. “These are the times he has to play his best. In the second half he played at his best. That was a big three that he made.”
Great plays down the stretch made it a great game, but so did the coaches on the sidelines. Just the presence of Ewing and Mullin in the Garden again brought back some of the great Garden memories. Now as coaches, they've already made some new ones.
“I have a lot of respect for him,” Mullin said. “100 percent never in my wildest dreams would I ever think I’d be here in 2018 coaching at St. John’s against Patrick Ewing coaching Georgetown.”
Ewing flashed back to old St. John’s-Georgetown memories just by looking at what Mullin was wearing.
“Chris and I have developed a great friendship over the years,” Ewing said. “I told him I’ve never seen him in a tie. He said he did it for me. It was his sweater.”
In the end as long as these two are a part of it, this rivalry will continue to grow in the new Big East.
“I think this is a great rivalry,” Ewing said. “Both schools have a rich tradition. You had the sweater game. Myself and Chris playing against each other and now it is full circle with us coaching against each other. It is a dream come true.”
As far as this season goes, Georgetown now is 2-3 in the conference and right in the thick of things while St. John’s falls further into last place at 0-5.
The good news for the Red Storm is that star guard Marcus LoVett will get back on the basketball court tomorrow according to Mullin and continue to work his way back from a knee injury.
Next up for the Red Storm is a date with top-ranked Villanova at MSG on Saturday while the Hoyas will go across the river to Newark for a matchup against 13th-ranked Seton Hall.
Just life in the new Big East for two old conference heroes.