St. John’s has not fared well in their last nine games inside the Verizon Center dating back to 2003. The Red Storm will have to wait one more year to end that drought.
The Georgetown Hoyas beat a less-than-100-percent St. John’s Red Storm squad 79-57, ending the Johnnies’ three-game winning streak. Phil Greene IV paced the Red Storm (17-9, 6-7) in the loss with 18 points. Sir`Dominic Pointer also had good outing as D`Angelo Harrison struggled with an injured right calf and finished with 16 points.
Georgetown’s Isaac Copeland and Joshua Smith each abused the paint and found holes in the Red Storm zone (and bench) as Chris Obekpa nursed an ankle injury. Copeland finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds while Smith scored 12 points with three rebounds. All five Georgetown started scored double digits while Mikael Hopkins chipped in with 12 points off the bench.
The Hoyas (17-8, 9-5) have won two straight games.
St. John’s now plays its next three games at home, including a rematch with the Hoyas Feb. 28 at the Garden. The Red Storm hosts Seton Hall Saturday at Carnesecca Arena at noon.
With Harrison playing with an injured right calf, St. John’s offense was never really in sync. The Red Storm finished shooting just 33 percent from the field. Both teams shot blanks early in the first half, but Georgetown eventually found its stroke in the second half and finished the game shooting 48 percent from the field.
Jamal Branch (4 points) tried to get St. John’s back into the game in the second half with a 3-pointer that cut Georgetown’s lead to 60-45 with 8:55 left. Harrison (5 points, 0-of-11 FG) followed with two free throws, but then the Hoyas took off.
Paul White came right back with a 3-pointer to put Georgetown up 63-47. Greene answered back with a 3-pointer of his own, but then L.J. Peak hit a trey to give the Hoyas a 66-50 lead with 6:42 left in the game.
St. John’s managed a short spurt earlier in the second half when they were within 13, 53-40, with 12:52 left. Obekpa, who saw limited minutes in the first half due to his injured ankle, scored two straight buckets. But then Georgetown called a timeout, regrouped, and scored five quick points. Jabril Trawick hit a 3-pointer and then D`Vauntes Smith-Rivera hit a deep two from the top of the key to put the Hoyas up 59-40 with 11:13 left and Georgetown never slowed down.
Georgetown used an 18-4 run to close out the first half with a 33-23 lead. St. John’s couldn’t buy a bucket during that stretch. Joey Del La Rosa (yes, him) made the Johnnies’ last field goal in the half with a layup at the 8:33 mark. From then on out, St. John’s was 0-for-10 from the field with five turnovers. The Hoyas’ defense just wouldn’t let St. John’s get anything going on offense. The Red Storm didn’t do themselves any favors at times by standing around as one player tried to find holes in the Georgetown defense.
Neither team shot well in the first half. St. John’s was 8-of-27 from the field (29.6%) while the Hoyas shot 13-of-36 (36.1%). But Georgetown recovered nicely after starting the game 1-of-6 from the field.
The Red Storm’s only bright spots in the first half were Greene and Pointer. Greene led all scorers at the half with 8 points while Pointer chipped in 7 points. Copeland and D`Vauntes Smith-Rivera paced Georgetown with six points each.
Harrison didn’t score a bucket in the first half and finished 0-of-6 from the field, including three 3-pointers. He seemed to be moving well on the court despite the calf injury he suffered against Xavier Saturday, but never found his stroke. Harrison did wear a compression sleeve on his ailing right calf.
Rysheed Jordan was a non-factor the whole game and finished with just 3 points on 1-of-6 from the field.
Steve Lavin showed more confidence than usual in his bench. Amar Alibegovic and De La Rosa played significant minutes in the first half. Of course, Lavin had to do this because Obekpa was still nursing an ankle injury. Still, Lavin had been reluctant to dig deeper into his bench earlier this season but that changed Tuesday night. Alibegovic scored 5 points in the first half, including a trey in transition.