Senior guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera scored 33 points to fuel an explosive Georgetown attack in a 93-73 win over St. John's Wednesday night. Under the bright (and dimmer) lights of Madison Square Garden, DSR put on a shooting display, hitting from deep, getting to the rim, and pretty much scoring wherever he felt like it. The senior guard's night was emblematic of a Hoya offense that set a season high for offensive output. Georgetown put, and kept, St. John's away before the half, moving to 4-1 in conference play.
Georgetown led wire-to-wire against a rebuilding St. John's team. The Hoyas scored on 4 of their first 5 possessions, and never really let up from there. After three straight years of posting respectable if not elite defenses, the Red Storm have been stripped to the studs in year one of the Chris Mullin era. Aside from a little bit of rim protection, there was nothing to stop Georgetown in the post, on the wing, off the bounce, or in transition.
Some of this was just shots going in. Smith-Rivera pulled some off-the-bounce pull-ups out of his quiver that did not depend on a leaky Red Storm defense. DSR has at times struggled to balance running the team and hunting his shot, but Wednesday night was feeling it and appropriately let fire. Senior forward Reggie Cameron hit a trio of first-half triples, connecting from the top of the key, the wing, and the corner. And even lil Tre Campbell, who has struggled with his outside shot this season, hit a a three-pointer and a transition lay-up that pushed the halftime advantage to 17.
Georgetown continued to pour it on after the half. DSR hit four second-half three-pointers, on two sets of two consecutive Georgetown possessions. The latter pair of triples pushed the Hoya lead to 26 and eliminated any speck of remaining drama. Both teams lost focus, with the Red Storm hacking out of frustration and the Hoyas losing track of offensive possessions. JT3 went deep into his bench, giving plenty of run to Kaleb Johnson, Trey Mourning, and even Riyan Williams. St. John's made a late run, but the result was never really in doubt.
There were a few blemishes on an otherwise spotless night. Marcus Derrickson did not play, which JT3 explained after the game was the result of a day-to-day knee injury suffered during practice. In other injury news, Paul White is gone for the season after undergoing surgery to repair a lower abdominal surgery. Georgetown has missed his versatility, offensive savvy, and added depth, and all hopes are for a speedy recovery in time for a breakout season next year. Isaac Copeland's shooting woes continue, as he has made just 6 of 31 field-goal attempts over the past 4 games.
Georgetown will need their starting forwards Derrickson and Copeland to be back at full strength starting Saturday. A Big East schedule that has been kind to the Hoyas early will regress quickly, as Georgetown hosts conference terror Villanova over the weekend before traveling to Xavier next week. As the competition stiffens, Georgetown will need to play at least as well as it did today, but also will need all hands on deck.
After three non-conference home losses to low-majors, Georgetown has at least backed away from the abyss. The Hoyas have won four of five in conference play, with all of those wins coming by double digits. Their play has been uneven at times, and their opponents have come exclusively from the Big East's bottom half. But Georgetown largely has taken care of business, with the only loss of the bunch coming on the road against a solid Creighton team.
Now the hard work begins. Home for 'Nova, at X, and at UConn in the next 10 days. Precious few games for the rest of the season where the Hoyas will be favored. If Georgetown is to succeed, tonight will need to be a building block, and not a high point.