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FAMILIAR FINISH: Hoyas Blow Another Winnable Game to St. John’s, 79-70

A 67-67 tie gave way to 12-3 Johnnies run in the final 6 minutes

NCAA Basketball: St. John at Georgetown Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Your Georgetown Hoyas (7-22, 2-16 BIG EAST) remain at two wins after a 79-70 loss to a very beatable St. John’s Red Storm (17-12, 7-11) on Wednesday at 9PM, in front of a meager late-night crowd.

The Hoyas never led in this one but surprised nearly everyone by battling back from 59-49 to 63-63 in three and a half minutes. Georgetown finished the game, however, in familiar fashion: on the wrong end of a 6-and-a-half-minute 12-3 run to shut the door on the hope for two consecutive wins.

In the game, Georgetown was led by Brandon Murray with 25 points on 10-17 shooting (3-6 3PT) along with 11 points from Primo Spears (4-14 FG) and 16 points from Jay Heath (6-10 FG, 4-6 3PT). The three guards, however, also had 16 of the team’s season-high 20 game turnovers.

The first half was not great for either team. The Johnnies started on a 14-5 run and the Hoyas finished the half on an 11-4 run, in part due to 5 turnovers by the Red Storm in the last 6 minutes. Still, St. John’s whopping 30 points in the paint were the foundation of a 40-32 lead at halftime.

Georgetown’s shooting was abysmal. The Hoyas, in the first half, were 12 for 34 (35%) from the floor and 4 for 15 (26.7%) from three-point range. Meanwhile, St. John’s was 19 for 35 for field goals attempted (54%) and a measly 1 for 7 (14%) from three. Georgetown was 4 for 7 from the charity stripe while the Johnnies were only 1 for 4. Each team had 10 first-half turnovers.

In a pretty typical slow start, Brandon Murray led the Hoyas with 8 points, Bryson Mozone scored 7 points off the bench, and Jay Heath had 6 points, but Primo Spears was 1-6 and only had two points at the half. Bradley Ezewiro was 1-2 in 8 minutes in another start. Qudus Wahab had 4 points and 2 fouls in 12 first-half minutes.

For St. John’s, in the first period, AJ Storr scored 10 points on 5-9 shooting and Joel Soriano scored 10 points on 5 for 6 shooting. David Jones had 8 points on 4-6 from the field.

The second half started pretty evenly with a 5-2 run by Georgetown matched by a 7-2 run by the Johnnies. The Hoyas were down 49-40 with 15:26 left but already committed 4 turnovers in the half. Each team scored 12 in the next 5 minutes and the score was 61-52 with 10:53 left. Pretty much everyone thought Georgetown was done.

Then Jay Heath made a three. Then Brandon Murray made a three. David Jones made a layup. Then Jay Heath made another three. Murray made a layup. The game was miraculously tied at 63 after an 11-2 run in 3 minutes by Heath and Murray. Georgetown was 5-5 from downtown in the second at this point. Could the Hoyas close in the last 8 minutes, was the question.

After trading a couple baskets, the score was still tied at 67 with 6:35 left. There looked to be some fight left, but the Hoyas cooled a bit.

St. John’s pulled ahead with a 5-1 run. With 3:30 left Spears turned it over on a low-post travel and a media timeout was called; 72-68. Maybe one of the hot-shooting guards could get them over the hump.

Murray was guarded heavily after scoring 17 in the half and managed to drive and dish to Wahab. Wahab was fouled and made both free throws to draw within two. On the other end, Posh Alexander missed an open three with the Hoyas down 72-70 with 2 minutes to play.

They weren’t without chances. Murray couldn’t capitalize on a decent look. Spears grabbed a turnover but Heath forced a lob to Mozone and Alexander ran out for a layup. It was Georgetown’s 19th turnover of the night (9th of the half) and the nail in the coffin.

Wahab missed a mid-post jumper and Georgetown fouled, with Alexander making one of two. The Hoyas moved the ball and found Murray for a pretty good look at three but Georgetown missed their fifth field goal in a row to make a 2+ minute scoring drought.

After another foul and two free throws from the Johnnies, Brandon Murray made a poor inbounds pass for his 7th turnover of the night and the Hoyas’ season-high 20th giveaway. Curbelo, recently activated after team discipline, was recipient of the steal and made both free throws to give the final score of 79-70 before a last chuck by Spears.

The fools gold of 67-67 with 6:35 left gave way to a final 12-3 run by St. John’s. Georgetown was outscored by one, 39-38, in the second half. St. John’s again did it in the paint, scoring 24-18 in the half, and beating Georgetown in bench points 17-2. The Johnnies also won points off turnovers (14-7) and second chance points (6-0) after intermission.

Georgetown did not capitalize on getting to the foul line making 5 of only 6, while St. John’s was 12-16, including some desperation fouls down the stretch. The big key for the Hoyas sticking around was shooting 5-7 from three in the second period while the Red Storm made only 1 of 7 second-half threes. In the end, it wasn’t enough.

The Hoyas finish the regular season by hosting Providence on Sunday (12:30pm, FOX) and visiting Creighton on March 1st (8:30PM, FS1).