Back in mid-January, St. John's was completely controlled by D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera and Georgetown from the opening tip to the final buzzer at The Garden.
On Monday night at the Verizon Center, it was much of the same as the Johnnies never held a lead, losing 92 to 67, and were in over their heads guarding Smith-Rivera (24 points), Isaac Copeland (23 points) and L.J. Peak (20 points).
Kassoum Yakwe, 12 points and three blocks, had his second straight solid performance while Malik Ellison finished with nine points on 2-of-5 shooting. Federico Mussini added eight points on 2-of-9 shooting and Yankuba Sima continued to look rusty, scoring three points, but Christian Jones looked aggressive on his way to 14 points and nine boards. The graduate transfers did not spark the Red Storm in any way with Ron Mvouika and Durand Johnson finishing with just 12 combined points and seven turnovers.
The Hoyas guards are not necessarily known for their blazing speed but the road team could not contain their dribble drives and played unaggressive perimeter defense for the majority of the night. With Smith-Rivera, Peak and Tre Campbell finding their way into the lane consistently and attracting help from the weakside Red Storm defenders, the Hoyas found open jumpers and stroked them with confidence (10 threes).
The Red Storm also were pounded in the paint, getting out-rebounded by 13, and the free throw issues re-emerged as they shot 75 percent from the line.
Offensively, the Red Storm played better than Saturday against Butler as they shot 44 percent from the field, only had 14 turnovers and did not settle for long twos for most of the night. But Georgetown was just on another level as they had 73 points at the 10 minute mark in the second half and never took their foot of the gas.
From the start of the game, very few things went right for the Red Storm, as they trailed 18-8 at the first media timeout and had no match for the Hoyas' physicality in the paint. Georgetown out-rebounded the Johnnies by 10 and grabbed five more offensive rebounds in the first half while drilling 7-of-13 threes.
Chris Mullin's squad forced eight turnovers, Ellison and Balamou were in consistent attack mode and they shot 48 percent from the field in the first half, but Smith-Rivera, Copeland and Peak combined for 38 points. The Johnnies were stifled by the Hoyas ball-movement, lacked energy out of the gate and were unable to defend without fouling as Yakwe, Mvouika and Amar Alibegovic were on the bench for most of the half. This helped the Hoyas build a 20-point lead that eventually was cut down to 16 after a step-back jumper was nailed by Sima at the halftime buzzer.
St. John's cut the deficit to 14 with 19:28 in the second half but that's as close as it would get. The home team shot 54 percent from the field and 75 percent from the free throw strike.
Next up for the Red Storm (7-18, 0-12) is a trip to Philadelphia where they will face off against the number one team in the nation, the Villanova Wildcats, who already defeated St. John's by 15 at The Garden.