On Saturday, January 15, 2011, the Georgetown Hoyas ended a 3-game losing streak by rolling past the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on the road. The Hoyas won their next 7 games en route to a top-10 national ranking. On Sunday, January 15, 2012, the Georgetown Hoyas ended a 2-game losing streak by crushing the St. John's Red Storm, also on the road. We can all only hope that history repeats itself...for the next 7 games at least. After losing two straight games, the last of which should definitely have been a win, many were questioning Georgetown's ability to keep up their elite level of play. Would Georgetown have the mental fortitude to keep their composure and go on the road to beat a mediocre St. John's squad? The Hoyas answered these questions with a resounding "yes", as they dominated the Johnnies for almost the entirety of their 69-49 win on Sunday.Georgetown did a much better job limiting turnovers in this game, committing only 12 to the Red Storm's 13. Cold shooting from beyond the arc did not harm the Hoyas, as they heated up from three in the second half. Madison Square Garden is classically a difficult place for Georgetown to play and this is their first win there since the 2007-2008 season. Georgetown took the lead midway through the first half and was able to hold onto it despite a furious run from the Red Storm late in the second half. This game featured excellent play by the freshman, especially Greg Whittington and Otto Porter, as well as the continued hot shooting by Hollis Thompson.
Working Hard on the Offensive Glass - Almost half of Georgetown's 41 rebounds came on the offensive glass (18). The main stars in this department were Whittington and Porter, with 6 and 5 offensive rebounds, respectively. The Hoyas had 21 second-chance points compared to only 11 by St. John's. This is the sort of rebounding productivity the Hoyas will need going forward against better Big East teams like UConn and Syracuse. The more trips down the floor that end with points, the better the Hoyas' chances will be against the top teams.
They Kept Their Cool With a Deficit - In the past, when the Hoyas found themselves faced with a deficit, they have been quick to throw up ill-advised three-point shots, have typically failed to keep their composure, and they usually have ended up deviating from the game plan. After St. John's went up 13-5 midway through the first half, Georgetown did not deviate from the plan, they locked down on interior defense, and continued to take smart shots. The Hoyas outscored the Red Storm 20-6 to finish the half.
Hollis Thompson Didn't Stop Shooting - Hollis finished the first half shooting missing all 4 shots he took from three and 0-6 overall. It looked as if the hot shooting we had seen from him in the last 3 games had all but dried up and the Hoyas were going to need a step-up performance from someone else in order to win this game. Instead, Hollywood came out in the second half and was perfect. He was 7-7 and 5-5 from 3 and scored all 20 of his points in the second half. For a guy like Hollis, confidence is huge, and for him to be able to tear it up like that after hitting nothing in the first 20 minutes of play is indicative of a great level of mental fortitude.
Limiting Everyone Outside of Harkless - Moe Harkless is definitely the Red Storm's best player. Everyone knew he'd be taking the highest number of shots and everyone knew that he'd probably lead them in scoring. Everyone would be right, by the way, as he shot 9-16 for 21 points. This time around, Georgetown did what it could not do against Cincinnati, and that was limit the scoring threat. Cincinnati had two players who were on fire and Georgetown could find no defensive answer for them. On Sunday, the Hoyas let Harkless get his points, but he's no Marshon Brooks, and there was no way Harkless was going to beat the Hoyas alone. Pointer had 12 points on just 3-8 shooting and he was the only other guy even close to Harkless' productivity. Outside of those two guys, St. John's was 5-30 from the field for just 16 points.
Winning the Game Going Away - Unlike the game against Providence, which Georgetown should have won easily, this game was over well before the final 2 minutes. It was close with 6 minutes to go, but the Hoyas slammed down the gas pedal and ran away with this game in the end. Close wins are thrilling, but nobody likes it when the Cardiac Hoyas show up. This win was a nice one for those of us with heart problems, seeing as we didn't have to spend the last 30 minutes (5 of which would actually be playing time) with our blood pressures pushing 200.
Allowing St. John's Too Many Long Offensive Rebounds - St. John's found themselves fighting to stay in the game early in the second half. One way they were able to keep themselves alive was on offensive rebounds, namely long offensive boards. The Red Storm are a terrible 3-point shooting team, so when St. John's attempted three-pointers, there was no reason Georgetown should not have been ready for a rebound. On at least 3 occasions in the second half, Red Storm jumpers bounced far away from the basket and ended up being recovered by one of the Johnnies. A team struggling to stay in the game should not be given second chances so easily.
Bailing the Red Storm Out With Fouls - Again, with the Johnnies threatening to make a run, Georgetown made mistakes allowing them to stay in the game. From the time of the 12-minute TV timeout to the 6-minute mark in the second half, Georgetown committed 6 team fouls, each resulting in free throws for the Red Storm. The worst way to help a struggling team back into a game is to put them on the free throw line. This game could have turned out a lot differently as a result of the fouling if Georgetown hadn't turned up the heat on the offensive end.
Not Enough Playing Time for Jabril - Jabril Trawick played a team-low 6 minutes in this game. I don't know if Trawick has done something to get himself into JTIII's doghouse, but his playing time in the last two games has been way down from his season average of 13.4 minutes per game.
Three Key Plays You May Not Remember:
1) Just 6 minutes into the game, Georgetown was playing some concerning basketball. Sir`Dominic Pointer had just made a baseline jumper from behind the backboard to give St. John's a 6-point advantage. Jabril Trawick brought the ball up the floor and made a terrible pass that ended up right in Pointer's hands. Pointer looked to give the Red Storm an 8-point lead with an easy layup at the other end, but 6'2" Markel Starks ran him down and blocked the attempt from the 6'6" forward. JTIII called a timeout after this, but it was important to the Hoyas to prevent St. John's from doubling their lead in the course of about 15 seconds.
2) The Hoyas were protecting a 5-point lead just 2 minutes into the second half when Hollis Thompson dished to Nate Lubick in the low post off an offensive rebound. Lubick attempted to scoop the ball under the basket but missed badly and when Henry Sims' put-back wouldn't go, St. John's was able to run the floor with numbers. God`sgift Achiuwa went up for a wide open layup but Lubick flew in from nowhere to block Achiuwa's shot, which sprung a Georgetown run back the other way. Georgetown didn't score any points off the play, but Lubick's impressive recovery off his miss fired up the Hoyas, who went on a 9-2 run in the next 3 minutes.
3) With 6:15 to go, the Red Storm had cut Georgetown's lead to just 3 points and they had all the momentum. With the Hoyas on the ropes, someone needed to step up and make a play. Jason Clark received the ball on the right wing and threw the pass all the way across the court to Hollis Thompson who stood wide open on the left wing. Hollywood nailed the 3-pointer and gave the Hoyas some breathing room. Georgetown never looked back, finishing the game on an 18-4 run from that point on.
It Was Over When: Otto Porter dropped in a layup with the foul to put Georgetown up 15 with 2 minutes to play. Hollis Thompson's 5th 3-pointer of the half sealed the performance a minute later.
Georgetown has a short turnaround and plays at DePaul on Tuesday. Here's to hoping they can tack a few more wins onto this new streak.