St. John’s may not talk about this game as a must-win, but at 0-3 in the Big East, it is a game that most realize they need to win if there is a chance to turn around the season and end with a winning record.
This game against visiting Georgetown is the Johnnies’ last chance to gain a win until the new year; the December 30th game against Villanova will be rescheduled (to allow players to go home, come back, and quarantine)and the next game is in early January against DePaul.
Armed with that knowledge and the bitter taste of the close overtime loss at Georgetown, expect to see the team come out with and extra clip of desire. The Red Storm led by as many as nine in the second half, and by seven with less than four minutes remaining. Finishing the game — and steadier, team-oriented defense — is key.
The Hoyas are still the ones who won the last match, are still tall and still made shots. How will the Red Storm respond?
Who: St. John’s Red Storm (5-4, 0-3 Big East) vs. Georgetown Hoyas (3-3, 1-1 Big East)
When: Sunday, December 20, 2020, 6:30 PM
Where: Carnesecca Arena
TV: FS1 | online
Audio: via TuneIn
Last time out: Game recap, 97-94 Georgetown victory over St. John’s.
Scouting the matchup
St. John’s may not have been great but they had the game handled... until late mistakes on inbounds, an inscrutable foul, and perhaps a team-wide let up on defense allowed the Hoyas to surge back at home.
What worked in the first meeting
Sharing the basketball. St. John’s had 33 made shots and 21 assists. The players were finding the open shooter and at times, had an offense that cut up the Hoyas.
Isaih Moore. Moore played a high-energy, confident game — one of the most confident outings he has had since the first two games. His ability to both take smart shots, rebound on both ends and play with high energy can key the Red Storm — if he can be consistent.
Execution in close situations. The Red Storm could have lost the game in regulation, but made a solid inbound play to snatch opportunity from the hands of defeat. In fact, the Red Storm made some savvy and heady plays at other parts of the game. They needed more, and they needed them late.
What missed in the first meeting
Georgetown was prepared for the Red Storm defense. They avoided the traps, seemed unaffected/ not sped up by the pressure, and constantly found their shooters in the corner. The Johnnies need to find a way to both surprise them and play better fundamental defense — making them shoot with a hand in their faces, controlling where the Hoyas can comfortably go on the court with physical play.
“The way that they played,” Hoya coach Patrick Ewing said after the overtime win, “they made it a helter skelter game; we didn’t have time to run our offense. We did what we call play the game to create action and motion.”
That “play the game” allowed the Georgetown players to read and react; they made smart plays. The turnover-prone Hoyas were able to finish the game with a below-average percentages of possessions ending in a turnover. The Johnnies are powered by live-ball turnovers.
Corner shooters. From the beginning of the game, the Hoyas knew the plan. They would feed Qudus Wahab inside and/ or kick the ball/ advance the ball to the corner where a shooter would be waiting. The Red Storm need to make the shooters hesitate.
Interior offense. St. John’s was not terrible on offense, especially when Isaih Moore was rolling to the basket. But players like Julian Champagnie and Rasheem Dunn found the going very tough at the rim.
Keys to the game
Make more chaos. Unsure how the Johnnies can bend the game to their will, but they need to find a way to make players like freshman Dante Harris make mistakes/ lose the ball.
Execute better/ more patiently. St. John’s needs to play in transition and attack, but they will be forced into halfcourt sets against a Georgetown team that has size... and the Johnnies’ number. St. John’s could turn the tables by executing better, getting more shots, free throws and dives to the rim to the likes of Marcellus Earlington, Greg Williams Jr. and Rasheem Dunn.
Force twos. Georgetown made almost as many threes (11) as the Red Storm attempted (13). The three ball — and the Red Storm’s fouling — gave the Hoyas many opportunities to bunce back. More long twos, even more twos at the rim are preferable to a bunch of threes raining down.
First Big East win, 76-72.