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St. John’s races past Georgetown in 75-62 thriller

The opening game of the Big East Tournament started badly, but turned in the second half against shorthanded Georgetown.

Wendell Cruz

Despite a rough first half, the Red Storm turned up the pressure and raced past a gassed and undermanned Georgetown squad, 75-62. The win improves the Johnnies to 17-15 on the season (yes, clinching at least a .500 season for Mike Anderson and the Johnnies), and moves them on to a game against top-seeded Creighton.

The seeds in the Big East are sown. Each team’s bids are largely irrelevant at this point, as winning the tournament is the only true guarantee to make the NCAA Tournament. St. John’s and Georgetown reaped the product of both going 5-13 in conference.

In Big East play, St. John’s earned the reputation of being a team that can win if they shoot well and can’t win if they shoot poorly. The worst St. John’s had shot from deep in a win against a Big East opponent was 32% against DePaul on January 11, so the reputation was likely warranted.

Wendell Cruz

Despite the reputation, St. John’s had been shooting well of late, so when St. John’s went 0-6 from deep to start the game, it was a bizarre feeling with concerning implications. The Johnnies were effectively able to get to and finish at the rim early, shooting as well as 7 of 9 at the bucket.

Georgetown adjusted to the poorly shooting Red Storm, packed into a 2-3 zone, and the Johnnies missed the remaining 7 attempts at the basket in the half. With St. John’s struggling from both deep and at the basket, Georgetown began to pull away.

Leading the way for the Hoyas was Terrell Allen, who played all twenty minutes of the first half. Allen did a plurality of Georgetown’s scoring, finishing the half with 18 points on 8 of 11 from the floor and 2 of 3 from deep.

Wendell Cruz

Despite the struggles of St. John’s, they went into the half down only 42-33.

Things started slow for the Red Storm after the break, getting down by as many as 15. That’s when the Johnnies found their groove. St. John’s responded with an 10-0 run to get back into the game and finally started looking like themselves again.

Georgetown got their lead back to 10, but a cramp by Georgetown’s Terrell Allen with seven minutes remaining became the symbol of an already thin Hoya roster getting tired. The Johnnies took advantage with an 8-0 run to make it a 2-point game at the under-four minute timeout.

With an Marcellus Earlington lay-up, the Johnnies and Hoyas were tied with the Red Storm still having their legs under them. Earlington followed up with a three to give St. John’s their first second half lead.

The run, which ended the game, ballooned up to 23-0 in large part thanks to Earlington’s second half resurgence. Earlington finished the half with 17 points on 6 of 9 from the floor and 3 of 3 from deep to go along with 6 second half boards. The Hoyas scored their last points with 6:31 left in the game.

After shooting an abysmal 15% from deep in the first half, the Red Storm were able to shoot a much better 46% from deep after the break with Earlington and LJ Figueroa making all of the team’s second half threes.

Wendell Cruz

Despite trailing for a majority of the game, St. John’s lives to play another day by beating Georgetown, 75-62.

St. John’s plays again tomorrow at noon against the Creighton Bluejays.

St. John’s Red Storm

LJ Figueroa: 22 points (8/17 FG, 4/10 3PT), 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 turnovers

Marcellus Earlington: 19 points (7/14 FG, 3/5 3PT), 10 rebounds

Rasheem Dunn: 9 points (2/10 FG, 0/2 3PT), 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 turnover

Georgetown Hoyas

Terrell Allen: 21 points (9/15 FG, 2/5 3PT), 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 6 turnovers

Jamorko Pickett: 13 points (5/14 FG, 3/9 3PT), 10 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 turnovers