The Red Storm continue on the road with a voyage down to Georgetown, a place where they have struggled.
The Hoyas have turned over a lot of their team, just as St. John’s has, but continue to stick with a hard working team of jumps shots and deep post touches under Patrick Ewing. Those same Hoyas gave a scare to Villanova, so they cannot be discounted; they will be up for this game late on a Sunday evening.
Yes, St. John’s has struggled in the nation’s capital. But past performance does not have to be indicative of future results, change has to start somewhere, that’s why they play the game, and all that; the Johnnies have a solid chance to bounce back from the Seton Hall loss.
Who: St. John’s Red Storm (5-1, 0-1) vs. Georgetown Hoyas (2-3, 0-1)
When: Sunday December 13, 2020, 7:30 PM
Where: McDonough Arena, Washington, DC
TV: FS1 | online
Recent history: The Hoyas have won three of the last four games against the Red Storm. The Red Storm are coming off of a loss to Seton Hall; the Hoyas are coming off of a loss to Villanova.
The Hoyas have looked at times like an intimidating team in halves against West Virginia and Villanova, but have faded late in both games.
Georgetown plays a high-paced offense, willing to take threes (watch the corners) but also interested in establishing the interior with their big men. The team draws few fouls, taking a lot of jumpers, but they do get offensive rebounds. The Hoyas do not force turnovers, but snag defensive rebounds and can be disruptive in passing lanes.
Jahvon Blair and Jamorko Pickett return from last year’s team, and provide toughness and shooting from the guard and wing spots. Jalen Harris, a transfer from Arkansas who played under Mike Anderson, is a solid passing guard, though he has only hit on 17% of his shots inside the arc this season. Siena transfer Donald Carey is mostly an outside shooter and, at 6’5” has the height to get his shot off. Freshman guard Dante Harris certainly looks like a player with a lot of confidence in his jumper.
Up front, Qudus Wahab and Timothy Ighoefe are tall centers who play big on both ends of the floor. Neither is particularly mobile, and St. John’s should try to take advantage of that fact. They will get some buckets against the Red Storm’s slimmer interior players.
Scouting the Hoya matchup with the Red Storm
The Hoyas have given the Red Storm fits with their physicality and height — and disruption. In three games last season against Georgetown, the Red Storm mustered assist rates of over 50% once (in a one-point loss). The Johnnies were not always prolific in sharing the ball — though in Big East play, they averaged assists on 57% of their shots — but Georgetown particularly used their length to slow them down and make the team be outside shooters.
“Shooting team” is not an identity this team can take on at this point in the season; the Johnnies have to get at least touches/ penetration in the paint even if taking available outside shots. When they have shot after passing the ball on the perimeter, the results — for all players — have been poor.
The potential is there to be better that the 30% the team currently shoots from outside the arc, but at their best, this is a team that uses the pass to attack quickly upcourt.
Julian Champagnie, in particular, had a rough game when the Red Storm went to DC last season. Josh Roberts did, also.
Keys to the game
Don’t give them the ball. The Hoyas are not particularly deep, do not put on heavy pressure, and do not force turnovers. So St. John’s has to make a point not to just throw them the ball or drive into a thicket of big men and lose the ball. The Red Storm need all their chances to score.
Make passing inside to out hard. The Hoyas will get their rebounds, and they will command extra attention inside. The Red Storm has to make sure that their help inside does not leave players wide open to hit three-pointers from the wings, which will likely be a big part of the Hoya gameplan.
Mentally tough. The Johnnies, in their second game on the road, may not draw the fouls they would like, get the calls they would like, string together turnovers like they would like. But against Seton Hall, the Johnnies managed to remain within striking distance, clawing the whole time while another player went off. That has to continue.
Prediction: St. John’s has struggled with Georgetown, and will need both Champagnie to deliver his steady performance plus a step-up game from the likes of Vince Cole and Rasheem Dunn. Here’s predicting that they do just that, but it comes late. 75-73, St. John’s.