The premier offensive threats of the Georgetown men’s basketball team (14-11, 7-5 Big East) rarely have good games all on the same night. However, Monday night was an exception, as the Hoyas defeated the St. John’s Red Storm (7-18, 0-12 Big East) 92-67. Behind a career-high 23 points from sophomore forward Isaac Copeland, another 20-point game from sophomore guard from L.J. Peak and 24 points from senior guard and co-captain D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera for good measure, the Hoyas shot an incredibly efficient 59 percent from two-point range and 45 percent from three-point range.
The game started off with eight straight points from Smith-Rivera, who recorded his season-high 33 points earlier this season in Georgetown’s first 93-83 win against St. John’s on Jan. 13. Despite low-scoring performances from both senior center and co-captain Bradley Hayes and freshman center Jessie Govan, the Hoyas held a rebounding advantage over the Red Storm throughout the entire game.
“That’s part of putting an imprint on the game,” St. John’s Head Coach Chris Mullin said of his team’s rebounding deficiencies. “I always tell them, ‘When you play, no matter what, if you play in the park, if you play with force and pace, you’re at least going to let your opponent know it is going to be a tough night and you are going to compete.’ That could be how you are running, how hard you are screening, rebounding, getting after 50-50 balls, that’s all part of putting your imprint on the game.”
On the other side of the ball, Georgetown did put its imprint on the game, whether it was timely backdoor cuts from Copeland or dunks by Peak. Peak, who struggled with foul trouble early in the season, has come into his own since coming off the bench and is leading the Hoyas with at least 17 points in each of his last four games.
“I think so,” Head Coach John Thompson III said of Peak potentially being chosen for Big East Sixth Man of the Year. “He’s playing at a very high level right now.”
Not only did Peak produce once again on the stat sheet, he did so very efficiently, shooting 9-of-14 from the field. Copeland, in his career-high game, shot an even more efficient 8-of-11.
“We just moved the ball around well,” Copeland said. “Like Coach [Thompson] said earlier, the drive and kick opened up shots for everybody else and they missed me a couple of times in transition for a trail three and after that you get rolling real quick.”
The Hoyas ended the first half up 48-32 and never looked back, building on that lead in the second half. However, a scare came midway through the second when freshman forward Marcus Derrickson took a fall and appeared to hurt his tailbone. He left the game with assistance and did not return. Hayes also picked up some sort of injury and did not return to the court.
“[Derrickson] said he could’ve gone back in. [Hayes] said he could’ve gone back in as well. Marcus [Derrickson] is a tail bone, but neither is serious, both of them are fine,” Thompson said of his players’ injuries.
The Hoyas’ win breaks their three-game losing streak and comes with an important milestone: With his 24 points, Smith-Rivera now ranks sixth all-time in scoring for the Hoyas. He also ranks second in three-pointers made behind Jonathan Wallace (COL ’08) and needs just four more to break the record.
It may very well come this weekend when the Hoyas visit the No. 20 Providence Friars (18-6, 6-5 Big East) on Saturday. Tipoff is set for 12 p.m., and the game will be televised on Fox.
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