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St. John’s falls to Georgetown, 69-66

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A lackluster game from both sides ends in a St. John’s loss, as Mullin and Ewing meet as coaches on the court

Wendell Cruz

The St. John’s Red Storm fell, 69-66 to the visiting Georgetown Hoyas, on a night where the shots just would not fall. The roster may be limited, but the frustration is not. The Red Storm drop to 0-5 in the Big East, in a year where there was so much promise in the non-conference season.

St. John’s is 10-7 overall. Georgetown is now 11-4, 2-3 in the Big East.

The struggle is real. It’s really real for Chris Mullin and the St. John’s Red Storm.

Georgetown forced St. John’s to take hard shots early, and late; but the team straight up could not hit a shot. It got in their heads in a second half that was inexplicably worse than the first.

Pure and simple, this was a pretty bad game on both sides. It wasn’t just the lack of efficiency, it was the on-court struggle from both teams to hold on to the ball, to make challenged shots, to make open shots.

Both teams defended well for stretches, yes. The Johnnies, in particular, got some spectacular performances defending shots at the glass. And the Hoyas were kind enough to lose the ball often. Georgetown put good pressure on Shamorie Ponds, especially in the second half, and made the transition shots difficult.

The shots the Red Storm missed are shots St. John’s would have made, calmly, cleanly, confidently at the beginning of the season. Right now, the team is trying to balance urgency with smart play, and it has been a struggle.

The first half was... must we talk about it? Georgetown grabbed 52% of their misses. They also shot 33% inside the arc and 20% from outside the arc. St. John’s forced turnovers on 33% of their turnovers (13 miscues).

Shamorie Ponds was solid, scoring ten points and adding four assists. But the game was a struggle, tied at 31. Marcus Derrickson for Georgetown was hard to handle, getting open shots and using his size.

The second half was worse.

Noted on Twitter: before the last few minutes of the game, the Dance Team received the biggest cheers on the night at the Garden. (They are very exciting, but we are not a dance team site.)

At the 17 minute mark of the game, Jagan Mosely hit a three from the top of the key... and the world on the court went cold. Ten minutes later, the Hoyas had scored ten points. St. John’s had scored five. Frustration worked in to both team’s attacks - misses, driving too much, missing layups.

With under four minutes left in a game, St. John’s finally got the crowd popping - Shamorie Ponds, obviously upset about fouls that he felt were not called, started working on Jagan Mosley, who was defending him, drawing a pair of fouls.

He drew a pair of free throws and then hit a layup, falling to the floor to bring the deficit to two. He then forced a steal on Jagan Mosely, passed up to Justin Simon, who dunked the ball for the tie.

But on the other end, Georgetown’s Jessie Govan shot a quick jumper, and the Johnnies’ Tariq Owens, emphatically trying to defend, fouled him.

After that, Justin Simon was trapped at the halfcourt line, and turned the ball over trying to give the ball to Shamorie Ponds.

The resulting Hoya dunk gave Georgetown the five point lead.

Again tied with 30 seconds left, Jessie Govan hit a three from the top of the three-point line. Justin Simon dunked on the other end, and St. John’s set up their late-game situations.

But, down three points, Shamorie Ponds couldn’t hit a three (or get a foul, which Chris Mullin thought should have been called) with the seconds waning down, and, with the offensive rebound, Justin Simon could not locate a shooter to take a shot.

The buzzer sounded.

Georgetown was led by 18 from Jessie Govan (with 13 rebounds), 17 from Derrickson (with 8 rebounds), and 13 from Mosely.

St. John’s got 17 points from Shamorie Ponds, 16 from Justin Simon, 15 from Marvin Clark (with seven rebounds). Bashir Ahmed was held to two points. Bryan Trimble, Jr. added nine on 3/4 shooting from outside the arc. Tariq Owens had a career high eight blocks in 38 minutes.

Next up for St. John’s is #1 ranked Villanova on Saturday night.