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St. John's basketball: Pre-Game Articles on Game #19, St. John's vs. Georgetown

St John's LogoArticles + Blogs on tonight’s game against the Georgetown Hoyas:

+ From HoyaSaxa (and thanks to them for the link), here is an excerpt (read the rest of the preview and sharp player analysis):

If St. John's is going to make a run Wednesday, it begins with Anthony Mason, Jr. Since returning to the team from injury on Dec. 15, Mason has been the team's best scorer, particularly in recent games. Mason scored 29 points in consecutive games against Pitt and Louisville, accounting for more than half the Johnnies' points against Louisville alone. His 43 percent shooting average leads the team, which reluctantly says that the rest of the team just isn't getting it done from the offensive side of things.

Eugene Lawrence returns as the St. John's point guard. While a good passer and assist set-up man, his shooting has tailed off in Big East play, and he is averaging under four points a game. 6-6 D.J. Kennedy has shifted over to guard, with inconsistent results. Kennedy is shooting 35 percent from the field, struggles from outside, and has a 0.54 assist to turnover ratio. Better suited as a small forward, Kennedy is evidence of St. John's depth issues at guard which hurts the Redmen in games with smaller and quicker backcourt players.

An encouraging development for St. John's has been freshman Justin Burrell. A candidate for all-freshman honors this season, his 13.7 points and 6.7 rebounds have been solid, but his recent games have proven less so. Burrell was 3-9 in a loss to Pitt, 2-10 at Louisville. Burrell is not an outside shooter and figures to score on second chance points.

St. John's weaknesses are evident: poor shooting, inconsistent rebounding, and a reliance on Mason to carry the load against teams that can otherwise shut him down.

+ By the numbers, HoyaHoops also has a preview.

+ NY Post’s Lenn Robbins looks for signs of hope from… uh… thin air. At least the Post has a pregame article up…

As the Giants prepare to pull off one of the greatest upsets in Super Bowl history, we seek for a reason to believe that St. John's can snap its five-game losing streak with a shocking upset of Georgetown tonight in the Garden.

Here is what we have come up with:

In coach Norm Roberts' first season, when he had just two legitimate Big East Conference players in Daryll Hill and Lamont Hamilton, the Red Storm, which would win just nine games that season, avenged a 66-57 loss at Georgetown with a 76-67 home win.

Angeline Jolie was once married to Billy Bob Thornton.

The Mets yesterday beat out the Yankees and Red Sox for Johan Santana.

In Roberts' first season, the Red Storm upset NC State, 63-45, to win the Holiday Festival.

"If we get that win and upset a team like Georgetown it's going to feel really good," said freshman guard Paris Horne. "We're kind of in the slumps right now and we are trying to fight our way out. If we can pull out a win it will feel really good and will give the team more confidence to move on."

Georgetown Hoya Mascot Grabbing His HoyaNuts+ The Georgetown Hoyas’ Jonathan Wallace grew up on a farm. My dad has a farm. We're inextricably linked.

+ Ewing’s Hand in Hoyas’ Success: "Little Pat" is thinking about coaching if the professional career doesn’t pan out… He should get some time in Europe. Hey, if Grady Reynolds can get some run (albeit in Poland), so can Patrick Ewing Jr.

+ Weaker Foes Lie Ahead for Hoyas:

Given the combination of Georgetown's recent success at Madison Square Garden, the Red Storm's atrocious start and resulting attendance issues (St. John's averages only 6,984 fans at MSG this season) and Georgetown's sizable New York alumni base, tonight's venue is unlikely to qualify as a true road atmosphere….

[If DaJaun Summers can’t play], expect the Hoyas to rely even more heavily on senior center Roy Hibbert. After a slow start, the 7-foot-2 preseason All-American has elevated his play since the start of the Big East schedule, averaging 14.7 points and 7.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists. Most worrisome, if Summers can't go, his 5.4 rebounds disappear with him to the bench, exacerbating the board woes of a roster that ranks 15th in the Big East in rebounding margin (minus-4.0). But Ewing has been coming on of late, averaging more rebounds (5.0 to 3.6) in fewer minutes since he became a reserve.

I think that Hoya in the picture up there is grabbing his dog-bone.