Georgetown has had a week off for finals and hopefully been preparing for the defensive pressure. Since Hoyas fans last saw St. John’s, they were dismantled at home by Creighton.
Coach Mike Anderson can’t be happy, and the Johnnies are surely getting desperate. The Red Storm defense is a shadow of what it was last year right now. Whether the issue is preparation time or talent has yet to be revealed, but Hoyas fans hope the Johnnies don’t find their defensive mojo at home on Sunday.
Turnovers have long been the plague of Georgetown, and without their leading assist man, the Hoyas need to focus on sharing the ball as a team. Patrick Ewing relayed that Jalen Harris won’t play Sunday as he’s taking a leave of absence for family reasons. Dante Harris should get his second start and hopefully stay on track with his good decisions and vision on both ends.
Georgetown fans are lookin to get some more veteran play from Chudier Bile, whose name has been unfortunately mispronounced in Hoya homes and various forms of media.
Let’s get Chudier Bile’s name pronounced correctly ahead of the Georgetown-St. John’s game on Sunday. pic.twitter.com/YlBVsUhFjY— Philadelphia Hoyas (@PhillyHoyas) December 19, 2020
Here are the links:
The Hoyas will have a lot to fix from their first win. It will need to start with fixing the turnover woes. In the first game Georgetown turned the ball over 17 times. “Fortunately they (St. John’s) only got 14 points off our turnovers.” Points in the paint was also an issue brought up by Ewing. The Red Storm scored 50 points in the paint despite Qudus Wahab’s nine blocked shots. “We gave them 50 paint points. That means they’re driving the ball in the paint and making plays.” There were also things that went right. Wahab added 17 points and 10 rebounds to his nine blocked shots. In eight minutes, freshman T.J. Berger scored 7 points in 8 minutes. Ewing hinted that there could be more playing time for Berger over the horizon.
The Hoyas have not played since that meeting with the Johnnies last Sunday, but the Red Storm will look to shake off a Thursday loss to ninth-ranked Creighton at Carnesecca Arena. After trailing by as many as 16 near the midway mark of the first half, the Red Storm managed to narrow the deficit and pull within two points on three separate occasions during the second stanza. The Bluejays, however, used a lethal three-point barrage to help spark a decisive 22-4 run that all but put the game out of reach.
Julian Champagnie, the BIG EAST’s leading scorer at 20.3 points per game, logged a team-high 17 points thanks in large part to a 5-of-8 effort from three-point range. The sophomore from Brooklyn also pulled down a team-high five boards.
The team is not as disruptive as last season, and is not able to make the windows of opportunity small. The defensive rebounding on Thursday— a critical component of ending the other team’s possessions, aka “defense” — was particularly not physical. There has been enough effort to get the team close in each loss, but not enough to take command of the game. If learning to trust one another can make a good team great, then learning the same trust can make an average team good.
Defense was supposed to be St. John’s backbone. Its constant. Its identity. The strength that doesn’t slump.
Nine games into this season, the Red Storm’s play at that end of the floor has been thoroughly underwhelming. Each game has been 40 minutes of open looks. Containing dribble penetration has been at best inconsistent and at worst absent — and has led frequently to uncontested 3-point attempts.
That concerning trend continued Thursday night.
St. John’s started poorly on defense and fell apart late in an ugly 94-76 loss to No. 9 Creighton at Carnesecca Arena. For the second straight season and the third time in four years, the Johnnies have begun conference play 0-3.
During Friday’s media availability, Coach Ewing was asked whether Berger had earned himself more playing time moving forward. "We will see," answered Ewing. "In both games that he’s played, he’s done an outstanding job... He will play, but not sure how much." https://t.co/CBrLfM80b7— Thompson’s Towel (@ThompsonsTowel) December 18, 2020
While Berger’s hot shooting has been impressive, it has been his sound decision making that has especially caught my eye. Berger was a true point guard in high school, so we shouldn’t be surprised by his quality decision making and on-point passing. Every time Berger receives a pass, it seems as though he has a clear idea of what he wants to do with the ball. He either puts a shot up, attacks an opening in the defense, or looks to set up a teammate. Most importantly, Berger always dribbles with intention, something his fellow Hoyas would do well to emulate.
The St. John’s Red Storm were off to an outstanding start to their 2020-21 season, winning five of their first six games and averaging 85 points per game on offense. This hot start has been extinguished entirely, however, as the Red Storm have now lost three straight games and find themselves at the bottom of the Big East standings. The Red Storm will need to bounce back and get their revenge on the Georgetown Hoyas if they want to compete for a conference title this year...
The St. John’s Red Storm have relied on the offense of Julian Champagnie all year long, and they will have the same gameplan against the Georgetown Hoyas. Champagnie’s shooting numbers have been phenomenal thus far, carrying a 45% field goal percentage into Sunday matchup.
St. John's game this weekend against Georgetown is massive.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) December 18, 2020
There are no must wins in December, but Sunday's tilt with the Hoyas is beyond critical. https://t.co/hCmvDnGhCK
The start to Harris’ tenure with the Hoyas has been a mixed bag. He brought stability to the backcourt after losing several key contributors from a season ago, allowing the team’s top returning scorer Jahvon Blair to play in a more off-the-ball/combo guard role. The 6-foot-2 guard leads Georgetown in assists (26) and averages 5.2 assists per game, which is the 60th-best in the country as of this writing. While the team’s top facilitator, he has struggled mightily with his shot. Only a 25% shooter this season, Harris has taken a backseat as a scorer only taking 28 attempts so far. Taking threes, though, haven’t been an issue with a 75% shooting clip.
With Georgetown thin at both guard positions, freshman guards Dante Harris and T.J. Berger are sure to see increased opportunity on Sunday, and perhaps beyond that, depending on how long Jalen Harris is away from the team. For Dante Harris, he will start his second game in a row, after putting together an impressive performance against St. John’s last week, scoring 22 points to go along with three rebounds and two assists. The performance earned Harris the Big East Freshman of the Week award as well.