St. John's Keeps Rolling and Gets Revenge
By Jason Schott - @JESchott19
The St. John's Red Storm have come a long way in six weeks. They blew out the Georgetown Hoyas 82-60 on Sunday night at Madison Square Garden, getting revenge for a tough loss in Washington, D.C. on January 4th.
St. John's has won 8 of their last nine games and seven of their last eight in Big East games. They have totally reversed an 0-5 start in Big East play and are now 7-6 in conference play.
The Red Storm started this one on a 15-0 run, led by Rysheed Jordan, who had 11 points in the stretch. That set the tone for the first half as they shot 68 percent to take a 46-28 lead at the break.
The only time Georgetown made any noise in this game was in the middle of the second half, when they pulled to within eight, at 61-53 on a Markel Starks layup at the 8:12 mark. The Red Storm responded with a big run and they were in control when Rysheed Jordan drained a couple of free throws to make it 71-57 with 3:41 left.
The exclamation point on the win came with a minute left when Orlando Sanchez slammed one home on a fast break to make it 80-60, and the party was on when Jordan got a dunk of his own soon after for the last points of the game.
Jordan and D'Angelo Harrison led the way for St. John's with 24 points each. Jordan shot 8-for-11 from the field, 3-for-6 from behind the arc, 5-6 on free throws, and three assists. Harrison shot 7-for-15 (2-6 on 3-pt FG) and 8-8 on free throws, with 6 rebounds.
Harrison said of the win, "We did a good job paying as a group. We were hungry for this win. We came out with a lot of energy, sustained it for 40 minutes. They made a run, they're Georgetown, they're gonna make runs against us...They made a run, we capitalized...This group, we never beat Georgetown before, we're gonna celebrate it probably for the next hour, then flush it and get ready for Butler.
JaKarr Sampson had 12 points (5-7 FG), 4 rebounds, and 2 assists. Orlando Sanchez had a big night with 9 points and 5 rebounds and provided strong defense to keep Georgetown big men Nate Lubick and Mikael Hopkins in check.
St. John's Head Coach Steve Lavin said of the win, "I'm just pleased that we took another step in a positive direction as a basketball team. I'll leave it at that I guess."
On beating Georgetown after the tough loss on January 4th, Lavin said, "For me, naturally as a competitor, if you've been beaten by a team, you want to come back and beat them. I think in any sport athletes and coaches are wired in a competitive way. It's in our DNA or our nature. So when a team beats you as Georgetown did earlier this season, you want to come back and beat them. But I think the bigger picture here is a team that continues to make strides in a positive direction. It's a group that has - since the last time we played Georgetown - has continued on a daily basis with each practice and each game to improve and now we're seeing the dividends of that hard work."
Georgetown guard Jabril Trawick said of the difference in St. John's from their first meeting to tonight, "I think they are playing hard on both ends of the court. I just think that right now we're really focused on Georgetown basketball. I think we didn't come out and play the way we're supposed to play."
Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III said of keeping the team focused after falling behind 15-0 early on, "We just had to start playing. We weren't playing. You can't stop a team that good that's playing as well as they're playing...We chipped away - we got it to at least a workable number. At some point in the second half - I'm not sure how much time was on the clock - at that point we made some bad decisions which allowed them to pull it back up. You've got to give credit to them - they are playing at a high level right now, a really high level at both ends of the court."