Going from nonconference play to conference play has not been a smooth transition for either the Georgetown Hoyas or the St. John’s Red Storm. Both programs had surging starts to the season going through nonconference play with relative ease. Fortunes, however, are now at the other end of the spectrum as both the Hoyas and Red Storm were looking to avoid an 0-3 start in conference play. For Georgetown, Wednesday night meant a reversal of fortunes after struggling against both Providence and Seton Hall, whereas for St. John’s it meant finding that consistency and final product that went missing in a close loss to Butler and struggling against Xavier. In the end it was the Georgetown Hoyas who avoided an 0-3 start with a blistering 87 to 66 win over St. John’s.
Whatever it was, St. John’s did not have it. Whereas the Hoyas came prepared to finally put to rest their poor start with an early take off in the game as the Red Storm were struggling to find their feet for much of the first half. It was a sign of things to come as the first three shots from the perimeter by St. John’s rattled off the rim and back into the hands of a Georgetown player. It might by cliched to stay that Georgetown played with a spirited display on the court, but it also might be the most apt description as there was a sheer determination from Patrick Ewing’s team to get over the hump.
Mac McClung in particular was on another level, with a game-leading 24 points in 35 minutes of play on the floor, a nice follow up from his 20 point game against Seton Hall. He was not the only Hoya to put up a showing in the game. Both Jamorko Pickett and Omer Yurtseven had double-double nights with Pickett posting 18 points and 11 rebounds in 37 minutes of game time, and Yurtseven having an 10 point and 11 rebound night in 29 minutes of play. Yurtseven would most likely have had a bit more time had it not for a cut above his eye in the first half that took him out of the game. Rounding out the scoring for the Hoyas were Terrell Allen with 16 points and Jagan Mosely with 12 points.
As a team, Georgetown shot the ball at a rate of 43% from the floor, 39% from beyond the arc, and 79% from the foul line. The Hoyas also out-rebounded St. John’s 45-38.
St. John’s, on the other hand, had a tough time going in, but showed some flashes that, on another night, could potentially be promising. One of the nagging issues of finding more well rounded scoring continued to plague Mike Anderson’s team in this one as only two players finished the night with double-digit scoring totals. L.J. Figueroa once again lead the way with a 23 point game in 34 minutes of game time, though he struggled initially to get going. The other scoring option for St. John’s was Rasheem Dunn who posted an 18 point game in 32 minutes of game time. Outside of Dunn and Figueroa, not much else was working for St. John’s, Mustapha Heron could not get going, and despite being on the floor for 20 minutes of game time still looked like his ankle troubles were keeping him from finding his touch. Four Red Storm players finished the night with four fouls.
As a team, the Red Storm shot the ball at a rate of 35% from the floor, 24% from beyond the arc, and 80% from the foul line.
With this one done and dusted, now the focus shifts to the weekend for both teams. For Georgetown Wednesday night’s win might have given them a new lease on the season which could carry them into their next match-up against Villanova on Saturday. St. John’s on the other hand the search for that elusive first Big East win is on like Captain Ahab searching for his white whale. Their next game is also on Saturday, with the Red Storm taking on fellow hot start but now struggling DePaul. A lifeline could emerge for either team in that one, but as for now another game in the Big East season is in the books.