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LINKS: Georgetown Fights Back to Beat St. John’s

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McClung-less Hoyas needed a strong second half to wear out the Johnnies at MSG...

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 02 Georgetown at St John’s Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Georgetown Hoyas (13-9, 3-6) beat the St. John’s Red Storm (13-10, 2-8) on Sunday at Madison Square Garden in dramatic fashion, 73-72.

Without Mac McClung (foot), Jahvon Blair stepped into a starting lineup where each starter was asked to play 35+ minutes. The pedestrian fist half left Hoyas fans with a familiar feeling of hopelessness after St. John’s led 38-29, with no Red Storm turnovers. The Hoyas were shooting miserably (10-35, 28.6% FG; 5-17, 29.4% 3PT) and, frankly, chucking too many threes. It was another slow start to note for this season, albeit one without the Mac-attack.

The second half was a different story as Ewing barked out different pressure defenses including two full-court presses, some half-court traps, and a 2-3 zone. Coach Mike Anderson noted the pressure as problematic—despite the Red Storm seeing a full-court press every day in practice. The Hoyas scored 12 of their 44 second-half points off of 12 turnovers by the Johnnies. The turnovers were the foundations for mini-runs Georgetown used to claw back within striking range.

In the second half, Georgetown shot the ball much better (16-28, 57.1%; 3-9, 33.3%), with Yurtseven going 5-5 from the field (6-11 full game), and managed to hold St. John’s to 37.9% shooting and only 2-9 (22.2%) from three-point land. While this game came down to one or two shots, it was a series of solid possessions down the stretch that were vital to the Hoyas fighting to get back and steal a road win. When GU didn’t turnover the Johnnies, they pushed them to shoot from spots of low probability.

Anytime a team comes back from a 17 point deficit to win the game it is cause for some celebration, however, Georgetown‘s immediate future is a bit worrisome especially considering Mac McClung getting further tests to see the degree of the foot injury—he is likely expected to miss time.

Ewing may have stated that this was a season-defining win, but in a season where these underdogs face plenty of adversity, beating the Johnnies without McClung is hopefully not the biggest feat. A struggling St. John’s team certainly helped the Hoyas’ momentum with their up-tempo pace and rediscovery of late-game turnover issues.

That’s not to say that Ewing’s skeleton crew did not impress with energy, effort, and implementing huge adjustments, including varying defensive looks. Georgetown has a long, uphill battle with only 9 games to go and will need magic from Ewing’s clipboard in order to steal at least a handful more wins.

Nevertheless, this comeback win on the road will hopefully send the anti-Ewing-cockroaches scurrying back to the dark for the time being.

Here are the links:

Georgetown rallies from 17 back to top St. John’s - Reuters | REUTERS

The Red Storm held a 72-69 lead on a bank jumper by Figueroa with 1:47 remaining but Yurtseven converted a hook shot with 50 seconds left to make it a one-point game, and Dunn missed a layup with 20 seconds left.

Blair scored a career-high 23 points for Georgetown, which shot 57.1 percent in the second half and 41.3 percent overall. Mosely added 16 while Jamorko Pickett and Terrell Allen contributed 10 apiece for Georgetown. Mustapha Heron and Dunn led the Red Storm (13-10, 2-8) with 16 points apiece but the duo combined to shoot 9 of 28 from the floor. Julian Champagnie added a double-double with 14 and 10 rebounds but St. John’s shot 40.9 percent and committed all of its 12 turnovers in the second half.

St. John’s surrenders 17-point lead in loss to Georgetown | NEWSDAY

Jahvon Blair had 23 points to pace five Hoyas in double figures. When Josh Roberts dunked Figueroa’s miss, St. John’s led 50-33 with 16:04 to play and had committed only two turnovers. Heron’s three-pointer made it 58-43 with 11:50 to go.

That’s when the Hoyas — five of whom played at least 34 minutes — began looking like the better team. In the last 4:50, the Red Storm made one shot and the Hoyas were 4-for-5. Yurtseven’s lefty hook with 50 seconds left got Georgetown within 72-71. Then St. John’s gave it back on a shot-clock violation before Yurtseven’s game-winner.

St. John’s vs. Georgetown game recap: Hoyas rally from 17-point deficit to win, 73-72 | BIGEASTCOASTBIAS

St. John’s held a 38-29 lead at the break, and led for just over 32 of the full 40 minutes. Georgetown shot a much-improved 16-of-28 (57.1 percent) as a team during the second half, after a lackluster 10-of-35 (28.6 percent) display in the first half.

Aside from Blair, Mosely finished with 16 points, seven boards, five assists, and three steals. Yurtseven got going after the break, making all of his shot attempts in the second half, en route to a 13-point, 15-rebound double-double. Terrell Allen and Jamorko Pickett chipped in 10 points apiece. For St. John’s, Dunn and Mustapha Heron paced the Johnnies with 16 points each. Julian Champagnie shot 6-of-10 on the floor, and finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds. L.J. Figueroa had nine points, six boards, four assists, and three steals.

St. John’s blows huge lead in crushing loss to Georgetown | NYPOST

Even with everything that went wrong in the second half, St. John’s had a three-point lead with 1:47 to go after a LJ Figueroa off-balanced, wrong-footed banker as the shot clock expired. But the last three St. John’s possessions produced a missed Mustapha Heron 3-pointer, a shot-clock violation and the Dunn (16 points) turnover.

Georgetown got within one on Omer Yurtseven’s basket in the paint and then went ahead for good on Yurtseven’s layup with 10.2 seconds left.

On the play, St. John’s (13-10, 2-8 Big East) picked up full court. Anderson said the plan was token pressure, to make the Hoyas take some time bringing the ball up. But the Red Storm got caught in the backcourt and Jagan Mosely beat the pressure, penetrated into the lane and set up Yurtseven (13 points, 15 rebounds) inside.

St. John’s loses big lead, fall to Georgetown 73-72 | RUMBLEINTHEGARDEN

St. John’s had committed nine turnovers by the time Yurtseven tied the game at 64 with 6:44 left. The Hoyas’ full court pressure defense caused ballhandling struggles from Rasheem Dunn and LJ Figueroa, who committed five of the turnovers in that stretch.

In a 34-14 stretch, the Hoyas had runs of 10-2, 11-2 and 8-2 to bring the game to even. St. John’s could not find consistent offense, searching deep into the 30-second shot clock for a clear path to the basket.

The Hoya zone contributed, but the team, as a whole, looked as if they lacked confidence in their scoring ability. The Red Storm held off the Hoyas for much of the last six minutes, but the inability to create offense — resulting in multiple shot clock violations — kept the Hoyas close on the Storm’s heels.

Georgetown Erases Lead, Tops St. John’s, 73-72 | Red Storm Sports

The 73-72 advantage was the first for Georgetown (13-9, 3-6 BIG EAST) since leading 20-19 with nine minutes to play in the first half. The Red Storm (13-10, 2-8 BIG EAST), which led by as many as 17 early in the second half, committed a turnover on the game’s final possession...

Georgetown started the contest by missing its first eight field goal tries, falling behind 7-2 following a Dunn and-one with four minutes gone in the game. The Hoyas responded with a 10-0 run, as the Red Storm missed seven straight chances of their own over the next four minutes.

Men’s Basketball Pulls Off 73-72 Comeback Victory At St. John’s - The Georgetown Voice | GEORGETOWNVOICE

With nine minutes until the break, Blair hit his third shot from beyond the arc to put Georgetown up 20-17, but the Johnnies responded well, going on a 16-5 run. The Red Storm committed zero first half turnovers and found substantial offensive contributions from several players, including Dunn who had 10 points at the break.

Senior guard Jagan Mosely converted on a three with two minutes left for his first basket of the game, but the Hoyas trailed by 11 at the half after Dunn hit a jumper at the buzzer. Coming out of the intermission, the Johnnies continued to stretch out their lead, making it 50-33 after a putback slam from sophomore forward Josh Roberts.

But after Ewing took a timeout to stop the bleeding, Blair stepped up with a huge 3-pointer to kickstart the comeback which would last the rest of the game. Mosely began to get more involved on the offensive end, throwing down a dunk and then converting on an and-one layup a minute later that cut the margin to nine points. A pair of threes from Heron over the next three minutes pushed the lead back to 13, but Mosely continued to make plays, finding Yurtseven for a jumper, who then assisted junior forward Jamorko Pickett on an and-one layup which cut it to eight midway through the half.

Georgetown surviving off-court chaos behind Patrick Ewing | NYPOST

But the undermanned Hoyas, who shot 28.6 percent from the field in the first half, kept fighting and kept defending. Their pressure defense forced the Red Storm (13-10, 2-8) into 12 second-half turnovers (after committing none in the first) that ultimately lost the game.

The Red Storm’s final turnover was brutal. It came in the final seconds as junior point guard Rasheen Dunn stumbled trying to attack the basket and lost the ball without coming close to attempting a game-winning shot.

“They made the right plays and we didn’t make those plays,” St. John’s coach Mike Anderson said. “It’s a tough, tough loss.” Credit Ewing and his team for that. The Garden gods didn’t let down the Knicks legend as the Hoyas ended a three-game losing streak.

“To me this a great win, a great win,” Ewing said, “Undermanned; down [17] at one point, my team kept fighting. They kept making plays. To me this is a season-defining win. I told them we have to continue to build on this.”