The best and the worst of this St. John's team was on display tonight at the Verizon Center in DC as St. John's played the Hoyas tough, but still came away with the loss. St. John's falls to 10-17 overall, 4-11 in conference; Georgetown improves to 23-4, 13-3 in the Big East.
ESPN U broadcast the game, and had some Georgetown student named Jake Tuber (I think? I will get the name right later) announcing. Because what else would make the game interesting? Certainly not the woeful Johnnies.
Except that after a slow start, St. John's had some molasses-speed rhythm going, goading the Hoyas into playing ugly and blowing dunks. Did the Hoyas lay down a little, defensively, in the first half? Ewing and Rivers got a bit of time to add more physicality to the Hoya defense.
The guards got their hands up and deflected or otherwise interfered with the Hoya passes... in the first half. Tomas Jasiulionis had an okay defensive game, as did Burrell and Dele Coker; all three were on Hibbert at one time or another and slowed him down with a lot of muscle and a bit of grabbing. Until the Hoyas got serious about finding the big man in the post.
Anthony Mason Jr. made sharp moves to the basket, and best of all, Lawrence got into the lane a few times or opportunities and passes. Burrell got the ball moving toward the basket, and though he only scored 10 points, had flashes of what is going to make him a solid-to-special player in the Big East. Burrell and Mason both got in some highlight reel thunder dunks.
But basketball is about the W and the L, not about the facial. And St. John's had 17 turnovers, two double digit scorers (Mason: 12, Burrell: 10), allowed the Hoyas to get to the line and couldn't draw fouls in return (G'Town: 16 foul shots, St. John's: 5) shot one more three-pointer than the Hoyas shot (St. John's: 11 attempts, G'Town: 10 makes from beyond the arc), and they looked like grasping freshmen in that mid-second half run where Georgetown pulled away.
For all the tough defense, the team still looked like a squad getting lucky and hanging with a big boy. And after a while, all the promising signs make a body wonder about fulfillment.