The streaking Red Storm continued its torrid play with a 61-58 win over No.13 Georgetown at Madison Square Garden on Monday night.
Wait, are we talking about the same St. John's team that lost to St. Bonaventure and Fordham in consecutive games? Apparently it is.
Dwight Hardy has really become a prime time scorer with 20 points, including two free throws with two seconds left to ice the game. Justin Brownlee added 15 points, including the game-winning putback on a Hardy miss, and seven rebounds.
Senior forward Justin Burrell pointed to the Red Storm's loss to Fordham as a pivotal point.
"We definitely needed this game to keep our momentum going. I always go back to the Fordham game, ever since then we've been a changed team," said Burrell. "We did so many good things that game and after that we built on them. So we definitely needed this game to keep our momentum going and keep our confidence going."
St. John's (10-3, 3-0 Big East) blew a 21-point second-half lead in its 84-81 loss to the Rams on December 11.
Steve Lavin lauded his team's defense, particularly against Georgetown's backcourt trio of Austin Freeman (6 pts), Jason Clark (7 pts) and Chris Wright (7 pts). The three came into the game averaging a combined 46 points per game.
"We always wanted to have a player-and-a-half on (Austin) Freeman and Chris Wright," Lavin said. "We're going to close out hard, get a high hand on their shot and any time they put it on the floor, we always wanted another player there to rotate."
Monday night's game was a proving ground of sorts for the Red Storm, which won its fifth straight, and snapped its 14-game losing streak against ranked squads. St. John's is off to its best start in the Big East since a 4-0 start during the 1999-2000 season.
Georgetown drops to 12-3, 1-2.