St. John's played with undeniable passion that helped them remain competitive in their first four conference games, but on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden the inconsistency of a young developing team was in full force. The Red Storm, who lacked energy and aggressiveness, were dominated by the Georgetown Hoyas from the opening tip to the final buzzer, 93 to 73, to increase their losing streak to a season high eight games.
Amar Alibegovic was one of the few bright spots, as he put up 12 points on 4-of-12 shooting and added five boards while Kassoum Yakwe, five points, seven boards and three blocks, also had his fair share of moments. Durand Johnson, 10 points on 3-of-9 shooting, and Federico Mussini, 11 points and two turnovers, struggled for the majority of the night while Christian Jones only added four points. Ron Mvouika played an inspiring second half, scoring 15 total points while looking like the team's best hope on offense.
The Hoyas came out on fire and grabbed a 19-13 lead at the under 12 minute media timeout as Reggie Cameron (15 total points) and D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera (a career high 33 total points) were spot on from the perimeter. The duo combined to score 26 in the opening stanza and contributed to the Johnnies poor three point shooting defense.
On the offensive end, Chris Mullin's team shot just 29 percent from all areas of the floor and 30 percent from downtown in the first half. The shot selection was not very promising, there was no post presence with Yankuba Sima out and the inability of Mussini to score after the 18 minute mark had the home team trailing by 17 at the break.
Not much changed in the second frame as the Johnnies were unable to check Smith-Rivera despite the game becoming a free throw fest. His ability to create, find open looks from beyond the arc and use his craftiness to beat Balamou was critical for the Hoyas.
Georgetown turned the second half into "garbage time," but with the Red Storm building for the future they showed fight in the final four minutes. The pick-and-roll offense looked improved, the ball movement was better (15 assists on 21 field goals) and Malik Ellison's attacking mentality helped him get to the free throw strike 10 times. The Johnnies faced John Thompson III's press and only turned the ball over 14 times.
But the inability to execute was the difference. The Red Storm shot just 39 percent from the field, 39 percent from beyond the arc and 75 percent from the free throw strike. They weren't much better defensively, letting the Hoyas knock down 52 percent from all areas of the floor and hit 10 threes.
Next up, the Red Storm (7-11, 0-5) will face another stiff test as they head to the historic Hinkle Fieldhouse to face off against the 23rd ranked Butler Bulldogs (12-4, 1-3) on Saturday at noon.