This afternoon, St. John’s hosts Georgetown at the Garden as the Red Storm look to rebound from their last couple games, losses to Villanova and Creighton. The Johnnies struggled offensively against Nova, being held to under 50 points, and couldn’t slow Creighton, as they allowed the Bluejays to finish in triple digits.
The Johnnies will take a 3-7 Big East record into tomorrow’s matchup, and they currently have a lot of wins to make up if they want to make the NCAA Tournament. The Red Storm need to find an offensive rhythm and confidence after the last couple of games.
Georgetown has been the worst team in the Big East this season, recently breaking a winless streak in the league that lasted over a year. Playing the rival Hoyas at home should be a good chance for St. John’s to notch a win. But rivalrly games bring out the best in opponents.
Who: St. John’s Red Storm (13-8, 3-7 Big East) vs Georgetown Hoyas (6-15, 1-9 Big East)
When: Sunday, January 28, 2023, 2:00 PM
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, New York
Odds: St. John’s -11
Last Season: The Hoyas failed to win a conference matchup last season, as the Red Storm won both games by a double-digit margin.
After making a miraculous run in 2021 to win the Big East Tournament and make the NCAA Tournament, Georgetown has had a rough couple of seasons. The Hoyas, who are coached by Hall of Fame player Patrick Ewing, who’s in his sixth season as head coach, went 6-25 last season, and haven’t improved much so far this year. They did recently pick up their first Big East win in two seasons, taking down DePaul at home in their most recent matchup.
Georgetown did not see a lot of return from last year’s roster, and had to rely heavily on the transfer portal to build this season’s squad. Their best addition from the portal has probably been their point guard, 6-3 sophomore Primo Spears, who started for Duquesne last season. Spears averages 16.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 5.5 assists for the Hoyas.
Spears is joined in the starting backcourt by another sophomore transfer, 6-5 Brandon Murray, who made SEC All-Freshman for LSU last season who averages 14.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists. In the absence of junior guard Jay Heath, who is currently sidelined with a hand injury, 6-4 sophomore Jordan Riley is the third starting guard. Riley — from Long Island — was a bench player for Georgetown last year, and this year he averages 6.2 points and 2.9 rebounds, although since being inserted into the starting lineup he has averaged 12 points and 3.6 rebounds.
In the frontcourt, Georgetown’s best player is 6-11 senior center Qudus Wahab, who played his first two seasons with Georgetown, transferred to Maryland last season, and transferred back to Georgetown this season. Wahab this year has posted averages of 10 points and 7.4 rebounds per contest. He is joined in the frontcourt by 6-10 junior forward Akok Akok, who played his first three seasons at UConn, and who averages 7.8 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game.
Off the bench, Georgetown’s top contributor is 6-6 grad transfer forward Bryson Mozone, who previously played four seasons at USC Upstate. Mozone averages 6.5 points and 3.6 rebounds in 20.4 minutes per game. 6-6 junior guard Wayne Bristol Jr, a transfer from Howard, and 6-9 sophomore big Bradley Ezewiro, another LSU transfer, will both also probably see some action tomorrow.
Keys to the Game
Don’t play down. St. John’s has had better results on the season than Georgetown. They cannot play down to the Hoyas’ level and need to develop their lead and control the game.
Make shots. Georgetown is one of the worst teams in the country at both making threes and defending threes, which is something the Johnnies need to take advantage of tomorrow. St. John’s is not a team that is known for three point shooting, but they need to be the better shooting team against Georgetown.
Have an offensive identity. The Johnnies cannot look lost on offense, and need to have a gameplan for how they will run their offense. Will AJ Storr be featured more? How will David Jones contribute? What is the situation at point guard?
St. John’s gets back in the W column and wins 90-73.