Streaking Red Storm gets even with Georgetown
St. John's completed a journey from one end of the emotional spectrum to the other this season against their personal measuring stick -- the Georgetown Hoyas.
The Red Storm reached its low point on Jan. 4 in Washington, falling behind Georgetown by 33 points in the second loss of its 0-5 start in Big East play.
But St. John's hit a new peak with its 82-60 dismantling of the Hoyas Sunday night in front of a crowd of 10,340 at Madison Square Garden.
It was the eighth win in the past nine games for St. John's (17-9), which pushed its conference record above .500 at 7-6.
D'Angelo Harrison and freshman point guard Rysheed Jordan each scored 24 points to lead the Red Storm, which also got 12 from JaKarr Sampson. D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera topped the Hoyas (15-10, 6-7) with 15 points and Markel Starks and Jabril Trawick each added 13.
Georgetown came in with a six-game winning streak against St. John's, and Harrison and Sir'Dominic Pointer were on hand for the last five of those losses. They had vowed revenge, and it was especially sweet for Harrison, who suffered epic scoring droughts in four of the losses.
Asked to share his satisfaction, Harrison drew a big laugh when he deadpanned, "We did good as a team. It was a good win for all of us."
"When a team beats us like Georgetown did earlier, you want to come back and beat them," St. John's coach Steve Lavin said. "But the bigger picture is that this team continues to make strides in a positive direction. I still think our best basketball is ahead of us."
The Red Storm's passion was evident from the tip as Jordan scored the game's first seven points and had nine in an opening 15-0 run. The Hoyas didn't score until the 13:47 mark, when Trawick hit a pair of free throws.
St. John's pushed the halftime lead to 46-28, shooting 68 percent from the field, picking up 11 assists on 17 baskets and committing only three turnovers. When Jordan hit a left-wing three-pointer early in the second half, the Storm's lead reached 52-32.
Georgetown fought back with a 17-4 run, including nine points from Trawick, to make it 56-49 before a three-pointer by Harrison with 10:20 left halted that momentum.
Emotions boiled over when Trawick and St. John's Chris Obekpa were assessed a double technical with 6:10 left, and Trawick left the game with his fifth foul. That sapped the energy out of the Hoyas, who were outscored 17-3 the rest of the way.
"That's one of their tough guys," Pointer said. "He kept them in the game. When he went out, the ball deflated on them."
Lavin praised his team for playing with purpose and intelligence.
"D'Angelo and Rysheed were emblematic of the team tonight and set the tone, Rysheed early and D'Angelo after Georgetown made its run," he said. "D'Angelo had the first counterpunch when he knocked down the three. Then he drove to the basket and got free throws, and the other players fed off him."