St. John's lost to the Georgetown Hoyas by a score of 71-61. The Red Storm came as close as 2-3 points at points in the second half, but late shots by Markel Starks and Jason Clark maintained the Hoyas cushion in front of a packed Verizon Center in Washington D.C.
St. John's goes home with another L.
But today, it's hard to fault the team's talent, energy, or effort. A furious second half rally was led by Maurice Harkless' 14 second half points, an active defense to hurry the pace, and hard battles against the much taller Hoyas for rebounds.
The energy earned the Red Storm 14 free throws in the second half, mostly from Harkless. The play of the rest of the team was electric - like a team that decided enough was enough and they were going to play like they had nothing to lose. The team mixed it up, with Harrison having to leave the court at the end of the first half after being hit in the eye on a drive, and Garrett landing awkwardly early in the first half.
Despite the Red Storm effort to risk life and limb for the upset, the depth of the Hoyas afforded them the ability to double up on Harkless and D`Angelo Harrison.
It worked. Harkless and Harrison combined for 44 points, and the other four players combined for 17.
On offense, the Hoyas were cooking in the second half. Hollis Thompson was in foul trouble and only scored 10 points. His mates picked up the slack, with four others in double figures (Jason Clark, Greg Whittington, Otto Porter and Markel Starks); Nate Lubick added 7 points and some tough rebounds, and Henry Sims had 9.
The Hoyas shot 10/12 inside the arc in the second half, and 63% (17/27) overall. St. John's enjoyed a more competent effort than usual on offense, scoring around 1.08 points per possession. But much of that value was in the low number of turnovers (7 overall, 12% of their 57 possessions). Still, the team got as close as two points before the Hoyas' late three-point shooting and the invigorated Verizon Center crowd.
St. John's falls to 10-15 on the season, 4-9 in Big East play. They face Seton Hall in New Jersey on Tuesday for a matchup that is sure to be filled with love. The Hoyas improve to 19-5, 9-4 in conference, facing the Providence Friars next.
St. John's ball movement and energy were better. The Red Storm were more active, especially in the second half on defense. The team showed a lot of fight from top to bottom, whether it was Mike Dunlap arguing calls, the benches earning a warning for being argumentative, or Amir Garrett and others looking ready to fist fight if need be. No one wants an actual fight on the court; but the team looked passionate, engaged, ready to deflect and defend the way they need to in this system.
Rebounding improved in the second half. For the first time in three quarters against the Hoyas, St. John's battled for missed shots. Granted, Georgetown only missed 8 shots from the field (and 6 free throws), but the Red Storm's ability to battle for toss up balls looked greatly improved.
Energy earns points. Moe Harkless' pep in the second half helped earn him chances to score. He went 3/6 from the field, with 10 free throw attempts (making 8), 5 rebounds (2 offensive), an assist, a steal, and a turnover for 14 points. He was a force late. D`Angelo Harrison's efforts can't be overlooked; he scored 14, shooting 3/7 from outside the arc (1/3 inside), 3/4 from the free throw line, with a rebound, an assist, and a steal.