After each team lost their first two conference games, the Georgetown Hoyas (11-5, 1-2) trounced host the St. John’s Red Storm (11-5, 0-4) on Wednesday night. To many Hoyas fans, hope has been restored.
This game—certainly the first half—looked great for Ewing’s squad as they caught some of that December fire from their 6-game winning streak. The Johnnies’ pressure defense was no match for Georgetown’s ball movement and transition scoring. It didn’t help that St. John’s could not buy a bucket to set up their press. Georgetown also out-rebounded the smaller Red Storm, as expected.
Mac McClung was the headliner as, in the first half, he was 6-12 from the floor and 2-3 from three for 21 points. For the game he shot 7 for 17 from the field and 2 for 6 from three for 24 points, along with 2 assists and 6 rebounds.
Overall, in the first half, GU was 16-34 FG and 8-14 3PT, with 7 offensive rebounds and 15 defensive rebounds. Georgetown had 14 assists and only 3 turnovers in the first. In the second, the Hoyas shot 10-26 FG and 1-9 3PT, with 7 offensive rebounds and 16 defensive rebounds. They only added 7 more assists along with 12 turnovers in the second half (there were 8 turnovers in the first 13:15 of the second half, yet the score was still 71-52). Omer Yurtseven had 10 points, but with St. John’s “frenetic” play Yurtseven was not the primary focus for touches.
The mercurial Hoyas are certainly in control of how well they play together in Big East competition. St. John’s is not a bad team by any stretch of the imagination, but this game felt more like Texas, OSU, or SMU than Providence or Seton Hall. Georgetown benefited from matching up nicely with St. John’s and further taking advantage of an extra two days to prepare after the Red Storm fell at Xavier on Sunday afternoon. St. John’s is missing interior size, and clearly lacked a pick-and-roll game that had helped both Providence and Seton Hall. The Johnnies also continued to shoot threes poorly—not unlike many teams that press constantly. When St. John’s didn’t shoot an ill-advised shot, they bailed Georgetown out with a turnover (and a transition basket).
Georgetown supporters certainly understand that the margin for error is thin and that injuries are just not allowed, but this team can play with anyone in the country—especially if that opponent encourages a faster pace, allows second chances, and does not run a pick-and-roll.
Here are the links:
The Hoyas (11-5, 1-2) rebounded nicely after starting conference play with double-digit losses... St. John’s (11-5, 0-3) absorbed its most lopsided loss of the season by shooting 25.8 percent (8 of 31) in the opening 20 minutes and committing 10 of their 15 turnovers before halftime...
McClung scored 21 points by halftime. Georgetown held a 10-point lead less than six minutes into the game, and then McClung later scored five points during a 16-0 run that opened a 45-16 lead with 3:27 remaining.
This time, it’s Georgetown who starts fast and doesn’t look back vs. St. John’s https://t.co/pibxHvafg6— Post Sports (@PostSports) January 9, 2020
On the Big East call, Ewing is asked about the unsung heroes on his team. No hesitation: Jagan Mosely. No brainer. Mosely's been huge for Georgetown this season, a stabilizer on and off court.— Ava Wallace (@avarwallace) January 9, 2020
"I just know that without him, we can't win... he's the glue."
The victory represented the best version of these undermanned Hoyas. Starting guard Mac McClung missed the conference-opening loss at Providence with an eye injury and was still out of sorts in Friday’s loss at Seton Hall. On Wednesday, after a few normal days of practice, he scored a game-high 24 points.
The supporting cast — the entire starting five scored in double figures — also pitched in. Junior wing Jamorko Pickett tallied the first double-double of his career with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Senior guard Jagan Mosely had 12 points and seven assists.
Point guard Terrell Allen, a graduate transfer, had 16 points and four assists. Senior center Omer Yurtseven scored 10 points and grabbed 11 boards.
McClung felt the Hoyas’ defense gave rise to their opportunities on offense and helped him find a flow in the first half. Still, he wasn’t satisfied with his night all-around.
“I know I have more of a total game in me,” McClung said. “But a lot of guys stepped up, like Jamorko Pickett, man. He had a great game.”
Georgetown used runs of 10-0 and 9-2 in the first half to vault ahead. The Red Storm committed 15 turnovers in the game — and nine came in the first 11 minutes alone, allowing the Hoyas to capitalize on fast breaks and a bevy of 3-pointers. They made eight in the first half, while St. John’s only made eight field goals altogether.
...the complete no-show performance in the first half that was foreign to how the Red Storm had represented themselves through the first 15 games of the season. The lack of competitive fire. The defenseless performance in which the offensive struggles continued. The careless ball-handling and mental mistakes.
“I take the blame for this one here. I didn’t have them prepared for Georgetown,” coach Mike Anderson said after his team’s lackluster 87-66 loss to the Hoyas on Wednesday night at Capital One Arena. “They had a week off and they were prepared for us. … It’s one of the few times I can say we didn’t come out with the energy you need to have.”
My first season covering CBB at the National Level @GeorgetownHoyas HC Patrick Ewing was the games most dominant player. He’s invested much time and effort to become a great Coach. Losing 4 players (2 of them) exceedingly important tough! “the life I chose.”@FS1 pic.twitter.com/RQ3Q3RFU33— Tim Brando (@TimBrando) January 8, 2020
Whatever it was, St. John’s did not have it. Whereas the Hoyas came prepared to finally put to rest their poor start with an early take off in the game as the Red Storm were struggling to find their feet for much of the first half. It was a sign of things to come as the first three shots from the perimeter by St. John’s rattled off the rim and back into the hands of a Georgetown player. It might by cliched to stay that Georgetown played with a spirited display on the court, but it also might be the most apt description as there was a sheer determination from Patrick Ewing’s team to get over the hump.
Mac McClung scored 21 of his 24 PTS in the 1st half of Georgetown’s 87-66 win over St. John's!— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) January 9, 2020
Georgetown’s defense fared well in the first half, as St. John’s proved to be a more favorable match-up than Seton Hall. The Johnnies are primarily a drive-and-kick team that spaces the floor rather than operating through high ball screens (which Seton Hall employed successfully against the Hoyas last Friday). Coach Mike Anderson’s squad simply lacks the size for that to be successful this year and struggled against Georgetown’s swarming defense.
On the flip side, the Hoyas regained their offensive swagger, bombarding the Johnnies for 53 first half points.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL: McClung scores 24 points in Georgetown's win over St. John's https://t.co/Wk85V8rRr9— Herald Courier (@heraldcourier) January 9, 2020
HO: Did you see the first half? We resembled a Final Four team. We scored 53 points! We had 14 assists on 16 baskets! We just looked, well, really freaking good. Our defense was solid, we looked for the best shots on offense, and we were hungry, motivated, and poised. And that first half wasn’t an anomaly. We played just as well in the first half against SMU and for much of the Oklahoma State game. Our slimmed-down group of guys really does know how to play, and when they gel, it’s really fun to watch.
MIRED IN SCANDAL!!!!— Philadelphia Hoyas (@PhillyHoyas) January 9, 2020
“After losing four scholarship players and finding the program mired in scandal in December, Georgetown basketball has forged a new identity, winning seven of nine as it tries to survive the grueling Big East.”
The Hoyas showed everything they still can be this season, as well as everything to which they could fall victim Wednesday night. The 87-66 final score in a win over St. John’s — Georgetown’s first Big East victory this year — indicates neither just how dominant the Hoyas were in the first half, nor how close things got to coming undone after the break.
Georgetown broke through the St. John’s pressure and lit up the Johnnies from outside the arc, shooting 8-14 from deep in the first half. Thanks to smothering man defense and cold Red Storm shooting, the Hoyas built a lead as big as 29 and entered the break up 53-26.
Seton Hall stayed unbeaten in league play with a win at Xavier on Wednesday, while Georgetown picked up its first BIG EAST victory at home, topping St. John’s. https://t.co/EDj4yfP1Pe— D1SportsNet (@d1sportsnet) January 9, 2020
What’s different about this Big East is the dearth of dregs... Every team in the Big East has double-digit victories. Only one has more than five losses. All are at least four games over .500. All rank between No. 4 (Butler) and No. 81 (Providence) in the NET and between No. 6 (Butler) and No. 81 (St. John’s) in the KenPom ratings...
[Getting] eight teams into the [tournament] ... might be difficult, because while there are no “bad losses” to be had in Big East play, it’s that much more challenging to stack up quality wins. For that to happen, the Big East probably can’t afford a great deal of separation between the team that finishes third and the one that winds up in eight place.