It was not a good outing the last time the Red Storm faced Georgetown, with the Hoyas laying a 29-point lead on the visiting Johnnies.
But Sunday is a chance for revenge on national TV, a chance to right the ship a bit — finding an offensive formula that works well enough to take advantage of the opportunities their defense creates. It’s also a chance to start February on a solid footing in Madison Square Garden.
Who: St. John’s Red Storm (13-9, 2-7 Big East) vs. Georgetown Hoyas (12-9, 2-6 Big East)
When: Sunday, February 2nd, 1:00 PM ET
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
TV: CBS | CBS Sports
Audio: St. John’s website provides free audio for the game. The stream can be found by clicking here.
Tickets: Tickets via StubHub are available if you’re looking for something to do before the SuperBowl (or avoiding party set up).
Georgetown had a 14 point lead just before halftime, before Butler clamped down on their scoring; Butler won by five in Washington DC.
The Red Storm and the Hoyas are both struggling in league play; St. John’s has two wins over DePaul, while the Hoyas have wins over Creighton and St. John’s.
Like St. John’s, the Hoyas shoot few threes but give up a lot of threes. Unlike St. John’s, the Hoyas don’t pressure the ball; but they CAN shoot when it’s called for. For the Johnnies, when they miss rotations, overhelp, or otherwise have gaps in their defense, they give up shots. For the Hoyas, the team almost looks to plan to leave shots open from beyond the arc.
That matters more when facing a team that can take advantage. St. John’s shooting, however, means that Georgetown will dare the Red Storm to shoot.
Truth is, Georgetown sports the Big East’s worst overall defense. But St. John’s has the league’s worst offense by a solid margin, three points per 100 possessions, which is a bit.
In the last matchup, on where Greg Williams Jr. missed the game, St. John’s fell behind early. Maybe it was the fast shots or just missed shots. Or more likely the turnovers — Mustapha Heron had four, Marcellus Earlington, and Nick Rutherford had six turnovers.
Either way, the Red Storm could not generate a high-energy defense early on. That lack of defense allowed the Hoyas to get an early lead and early confidence.
Forward Jamorko Pickett had a season high in points and rebounds; Terrell Allen had a season high in points. Clearly, whatever St. John’s did on defense was ineffective.
Will better effort, having Greg Williams, Jr., and a bit more experience in the system make the Johnnies more effective?
Keys to the Game
Better energy on defense. There was a stretch in the middle of the first half that the Johnnies were the kind of disruptive that they want — enough to force turnovers and enough to wear down opponents later.
Fewer turnovers. Mike Anderson said the Johnnies made “turnovers that didn’t make sense.” Certainly, watching the ball slip out of players hands, players dropping passes right off their hands... there is a point to be made. The Red Storm have to be better at maintaining possession.
Diversify the offense. St. John’s has been very dependent on the efforts of Rasheem Dunn, LJ Figueroa and Mustapha Heron. The rest of the team has to put up better scoring performances, whether from shots from Josh Roberts, drives from Marcellus Earlington, or jumpers from the likes of Julian Champagnie, Williams, and David Caraher.
The Johnnies bring the effort after their game against Villanova, and pick up a close win. 74-72, Red Storm.