On Sunday, your Georgetown Hoyas (6-15, 1-9) head up to New York City to take on the St. John’s Red Storm (13-8, 3-7). According to GUHoyas.com, tipoff at Madison Square Garden is scheduled for 2 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on FS1 with John Fanta calling the play-by-play and Tarik Turner providing analysis (with Rich Chvotkin on The Team 980 / Sirius XM 386).
Mike Anderson and the Johnnies have home wins over DePaul and Butler, as well as beating then-ranked-no.-6 UConn in Hartford on the Sunday afternoon of January 15th. Most recently St. John’s has lost at Creighton (104-76) and to Villanova (57-49) at MSG with weak offensive output.
Generally, this year, St. John’s looks similar to past iterations under Anderson. On Kenpom, the Red Storm have a top 60 defense and a top 100 offense. They are led by 6’11” Joel Soriano and DePaul transfer David Jones stepping up down low, with Posh Alexander statistically looking similar to his past two seasons.
Right now, St. John’s is looking for the cure for their struggling offense. Georgetown helped floundering offenses of Butler, Seton Hall, and Villanova earlier this month. Unlike those other BIG EAST foes, St. John’s will likely depend more on their pressure defense generating transition buckets for them. If the Hoyas turn the ball over early and play into that, the Johnnies could get back on track. Against Butler and UConn, the Red Storm generated 20+ turnovers each. The Hoyas had 19 turnovers against the press of Marquette three weeks ago but GU has had 13 or under TOs in six of the last seven games, including only 3 giveaways in the second half against DePaul.
So, if Georgetown takes care of the ball and draws fouls like they did against DePaul, there is a significant chance the Hoyas get another win.
Awful night for St. John's. This, combined with what the team did against Villanova, makes the seat very hot for Mike Anderson.— Matt St. Jean (@mattstdream) January 26, 2023
Next up is a date with the Hoyas at MSG. Does Georgetown roulette have a second bullet in the chamber?
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The Johnnies followed up their best win of the season, an 85-74 thrashing of then-No. 6 Connecticut in Hartford last Sunday — a game that, remarkably, wasn’t nearly as close as the final score — with one of the uglier games Madison Square Garden has seen in a long, long time.
Villanova’s 57-49 rock-fight victory was a buzzkill on so many levels. There was zero carryover from the win over UConn (and though the Huskies are in the middle of their own surprising funk, they remain one of the Big East’s signature teams). Villanova, while a regal name with an impeccable Garden résumé in recent years, is hardly the Villanova of recent vintage. Just four days earlier, the Wildcats were life-and-death with Georgetown, at home, before handing the Hoyas a 28th straight Big East loss.
Worst of all, the Johnnies led Villanova 44-38 with 8 ¹/₂ minutes left, in front of the best home crowd of the year — 13,604 folks who were audibly (and adamantly) pro-SJU. And from there, they scored exactly five points. Villanova—– which needs its own substantial run of good fortune to eke back into the NCAAs — took the game clear away from the Johnnies.
It was ugly. It was inexplicable. And, truthfully, inexcusable.
St. John's loses to Creighton, 104-76. We've getting very close to playing out-the-string territory in January. Mike Anderson's team is 3-7 in the Big East. It is 2-7 in Quad 1 and 2 games. Was not competitive in this game. #sjubb— Zach Braziller (@NYPost_Brazille) January 26, 2023
Joel Soriano is their all-everything player, with the 6’11”, 260-pound big man averaging 16.4 points and 12.3 rebounds per game... Soriano has been remarkably consistent, logging a double-double in 17 of their 20 games — those 17 double-doubles lead the entire country. His 245 total rebounds are second-most in D1...
Junior guard Posh Alexander is the key to their fastbreak, leading the team and the entire Big East with 2.3 steals per game (16th most in all of D1). He’s been overshadowed by Soriano somewhat, but has continued to anchor their backcourt — Alexander averages 9.4 points and 4.1 assists per game.
Combined with Dylan Addae-Wusu and Illinois transfer Andrew Curbelo, who average 2.0 steals per game each, the Johnnies’ backcourt can be downright hostile. Addae-Wusu has started the last six games and averaged 9.3 points since taking on a larger role; he’s also averaged 3.0 steals in the past four games including a career-high five steals at Providence and four steals at UConn. Curbelo, playing in a sixth-man role, has been huge with 10.3 points and 4.9 assists to go with his steals, and he’s scored in double figures in four of the last five games.
6’6” freshman AJ Storr was the Big East Freshman of the Week on January 16 after averaging 13.0 points on 56.3% shooting (9-16 FG) from the field and 42.9% (3-of-7 3FG) from distance in wins against Butler and UConn. By percentage, he leads the Big East in three-point shooting (47.6%, 10-of-21) in league games.
Prior to being tripped up by the Wildcats, the Red Storm won consecutive contests, beginning with a 16-point victory over Butler on Jan. 10 in Queens followed by an 11-point win at then-No. 6/7 UConn on Jan. 15. During the two-game win streak, St. John’s averaged 81.0 points, shooting 52.2 percent (60-115 FG) from the floor. Defensively, the Johnnies forced 21.5 turnovers per contest, while recording 20.5 points off turnovers.
Soriano paced the Johnnies with 19.5 points and 11.5 rebounds per contest in the team’s last two wins. Freshman wing AJ Storr averaged 13.0 points, shooting 56.3 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from distance against the Bulldogs and Huskies. For his efforts, Storr was named the BIG EAST Freshman of the Week on Jan. 16.
Usually when St. John’s loses, the other team goes for a 10-0 run or better and the rest of the game feels like a formality. Tonight, Creighton had a 7-0 run early in the first half, but otherwise, the game didn’t get out of hand on one run.
Also oddly enough, Creighton didn’t light it up from deep. They shot a ho-hum 11 of 30 from three in the contest.
The big difference was at the free throw line. Creighton had more than twice as many made free throws as St. John’s. For a Red Storm team that struggles to shoot from three, they don’t create contact in their drives to the basket.
Coach Mike Anderson waited until there were 5 minutes to play before bringing in Drissa Traore, but beyond that, the deep bench didn’t come in until Creighton put up 100 points and there was less than a minute left.
With minimal minutes from the deep bench, the buzzer sounded with St. John’s falling to Creighton, 104-76.
St. John’s may have found a bit of rhythm in recent games, coinciding with Big East Freshman of the Week AJ Storr and additional minutes from Rafael Pinzon. Those two players are quick enough to get into the lane but are credible jump shooting threats. Freshman guard Kolby King has gotten some minutes as an energetic lead guard.
Joel Soriano has become the true heart of the team, providing toughness and physicality; in the box score, he has been a near lock for a double-double. Montez Mathis has been out for a few games with a foot injury; and David Jones has seen fewer minutes.
Keep up the chaos. St. John’s has to continue to be disruptive on defense. Hurrying the Wildcats up is good, but making sure they do not make connections with each other, making sure they do not get into a ball passing flow, is key.
Own the glass. Villanova plays a guard-heavy offense, and the team are not naturally strong rebounders. The Johnnies need to work hard and be physical inside, and make sure Villanova does not get second shots — and make sure the Red Storm do get second shots.
It’s #SuitsAndSneakers Week!— Georgetown Hoops (@GeorgetownHoops) January 26, 2023
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