USA TODAY Sports
Chris Obekpa breaks a record, but St. John's breaks the fans' hearts.
It was ugly early and often for St. John's in their second of three consecutive home games at Madison Square Garden.
Through ten minutes, Georgetown had built a 33-10 advantage helped by nearly 60% shooting. Much like Wednesday against Rutgers, the Johnnies placed themselves in a big hole before many fans even sat down.
St. John's had issues penetrating Georgetown's zone defense. The Red Storm settled for contested jump shots far from the basket. At halftime, St. John's had scored only 0.57 points per possession.
"It was a dominating performance by Georgetown from start to finish and we were taken to the woodshed," Steve Lavin said after the game. "Coming back from a 28-point defeat and coming to the Garden with the possibility of going 0-3 in the Big East isn't easy to do on someone else's home court."
The Hoyas took a dominating 36-19 lead into halftime and already had two players (Porter and Starks) in double figures at intermission.
"We knew Georgetown was going to come out ready to play," JaKarr Sampson said. "Unfortunately, we didn't come out with that same mindset."
D`Angelo Harrison struggled to even get shot attempts off in the first half, guarded mostly by Georgetown sophomore Markel Starks. Harrison finished with just 7 points, his lowest total of the season.
"He's a great scorer and can put the ball in the basket," Starks mentioned. "We just wanted to make things difficult for him."
JaKarr Sampson scored 8 of the Johnnies' first 17 points, but picked up his third foul late in the first half forcing him to leave the game. Before fouling out with 6:21 remaining, Sampson scored 12 points, adding 7 rebounds.
Though Steve Lavin elected to insert Sir`Dominic Pointer, Jamal Branch, and Felix Balamou into the lineup to start the second frame, the bleeding continued. Georgetown extended its lead to 23 in less than three minutes.
Again, free throw shooting was an issue for the Red Storm. They were a dismal 3-10 from the line in the first half, and ended 6-16. Poor free throw shooting cost them in their loss to Rutgers earlier this week.
It wasn't any prettier for the Red Storm from the field. St. John's only converted 21 of its 59 shot attempts (36%). St. John's went a dismal 1-13 from three-point range.
"There were no tricks or gimmicks, just defense," Starks said. "We're a good defensive team, and we just want to keep getting better and better."
Jamal Branch played much more in the second half than he has since joining the team on December 21st. Phil Greene played just three minutes after halftime.
Nate Lubick (11) and Markel Starks (17) joined Porter in double figures for Georgetown. Tough the Hoyas had scored less than 50 points in three games this season, they had no trouble finding the bottom of the net against St. John's in a crisp offensive performance, shooting 44% from the field.
After losing its first two Big East games to Marquette and Pittsburgh, Georgetown needed a solid performance on Saturday against St. John's. They got it, and then some, while showing the New York crowd how good they can be this season.
"Each and every player that I called upon did their part," John Thompson III said afterwards. "I liked the way we played today, but there's still a lot that we have to keep getting better at."
With his first block of the game, Chris Obekpa (3 points, 6 blocks, 10 rebounds) recorded his 77th swatted shot of the season making him the new St. John's record holder for blocks in one season. The freshman passed Redmen great Walter Berry, who held the record since the 1985-86 season. In fact, Obekpa moved into the Top 10 of St. John's history when he blocked his 81st shot of the season later in the first half.
St. John's will have two days to recover from the loss before they welcome Notre Dame to the Garden on Tuesday night. The Irish, who are off to one of their best starts ever, host UConn on Saturday afternoon.