This time around, the game between the Red Storm and the Hoyas won’t be a chance to the announcers to wax about the relationship between Patrick Ewing and Chris Mullin, showing 420p or grainier video of 1985.
Still, the long and storied history between the two teams mean that this game is still, and will always be, a bit of a rivalry.
For two teams that are winless in the Big East, the immediacy won’t be in the names on the front of the jerseys, but the need to stay out of the Big East basement in what looks to be a long and competitive league season.
Who: St. John’s Red Storm (11-4, 0-2 Big East) vs. Georgetown Hoyas (10-5, 0-2 Big East)
When: Wednesday, January 8th, 6:30 PM ET
Where: Verizon Center, Washington, DC
TV: FS1 | FoxSportsGo
Audio: St. John’s website provides free audio for the game. The stream can be found by clicking here.
Tickets: Making the trip down to DC? Tickets are available for as little as $8.
Last Season in DC: In Washington, Shamorie Ponds’ 37 points led St. John’s to a 97-94 overtime win, which led to the Red Storm being ranked.
Last Big East game: The Red Storm missed most of their three-pointers and fell to Xavier, 75-67, after a spirited finish. Georgetown was blown out in Newark by Seton Hall, 78-62.
Georgetown has, of course, had some serious off-court problems. Three players were accused of robbery and sexual misconduct. The three players, Josh LeBlanc, Galen Alexander and Myron Gardner, have all transferred from the program.
Separate from them, point guard James Akinjo chose to leave the program (he was also once committed to Connecticut).
The team has turned to Terrell Allen, a defensively-minded point guard grad transfer from Central Florida, to step into the point guard role. Veterans Jagan Mosely (#4) and Jahvon Blair (#0) have stepped into the gap as well.
Mosely doesn’t take many shots, but the ones he takes he has been successful making. The 6’3” senior from New Jersey can handle and pass a little, but struggles with turnovers. Blair is the outside shooter on the team. A 6’4” guard, he can also pass and handle a bit; expect jump shots from him and fewer drives. Defensively, both can pick up steals.
Overall, they have been a team that crashes the offensive glass — at least before the personnel losses. As a team, they tend to take shots inside the arc very willing to take long two-point jump shots), have struggled inside the arc (shooting 40% on twos in Big East games), and have been decent at protecting the ball.
On defense, expect a team that goes under screens and tries to keep St. John’s from driving. The defense will allow threes, play the passing lanes for steals, and generally avoid foul contact on defense. They rebound the defensive end well.
Offensively, then, the team now centers around the scoring exploits of Mac McClung (#2) and center Omer Yurtseven (#44). Yurtseven, a transfer from NC State, is a very talented center with size, strength, and rebounding ability. He has been one of the best offensive rebounders in the country over his time in college. The Turkish seven-footer is a load inside on both ends, blocking shots and effective in the post. Given space and touches, the junior center will take 10+ shots. He scored 32 against Samford, 19 against Syracuse. His jumper is solid as well.
Sophomore Mac McClung, who came into college as a high-scoring dunker, has improved his outside shooting. He hits 37% of his threes, 46% of his twos and 88% of his free throws. His turnover numbers have also improved. He continues to be prone to hot and cold shooting streaks, but he does a lot of things well — force steals, make passes, and he even rebounds on the defensive end a bit. McClung picked up an eye injury and is wearing protective glasses/ rec specs.
Jamorko Pickett (#1) is a solidly built 6’8” small forward who can crash the offensive glass. He is also a solid shooter from deep (44% this season), though he tends to shoot jumpers inside the arc.
Up front, George Muresan (#20) and Qudus Wahab (#34) provide a little more bench play in the paint.
Keys to the Game
Get to the rim. The Hoyas love to play a fast pace; St. John’s can take advantage and get to the rim, creating the shots that will work for them. Rasheem Dunn and LJ Figueroa should have opportunities in this game, but they need to make the most of them, driving aggressively all the way to the basket, drawing fouls and making shots.
Slow McClung/ Yurtseven. The pair, together, are enough to win a game — given decent contributions from the rest of the team. But slowing down one of them into a poor performance should greatly increase the chance of success on the road. Forcing McClung into hero shots and off-balance threes should be a goal. Yurtseven needs to be kept as far from the basket as possible.
Slow them down without fouling. The Hoyas have size and quickness. If a referee is inclined to make a lot of calls on reach ins or physical play, those calls are likely to benefit the Hoyas, especially at home.
St. John’s pulls out a road win and their first Big East W. 76-71, Red Storm.