MEN'S BASKETBALL | GU Halts Red Storm at MSG
Georgetown 69, St. John's 49
Published: Saturday, January 14, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, January 17, 2012 18:01
New York, NY– For 20 minutes, Hollis Thompson looked to be having an untimely off night, but the junior guard was perfect in the second half en route to a Hoyas' victory against the St. John Red Storm (8-9, 2-4) on Sunday afternoon, 69-49, at Madison Square Garden.
Thompson shot seven-for-seven, including a five-for-five mark from three-point range, scoring 20 points in a much-needed road victory for No.11 Georgetown (14-3, 4-2), which had dropped two straight games coming into today.
"Overall, I am pleased. I thought that we made the hustle plays, had 12 turnovers, and I still think that we need to cut that down, but obviously turnovers were the big thing coming out of the last game," Head Coach John Thompson III said, referring to the 17 turnovers committed by the Hoyas in a home-loss to Cincinnati on Monday night.
Thompson, a junior guard from California who came into the game shooting 52% from long-range, missed his first six shots of the contest, and had zero points going into halftime. In Georgetown's loss against to the Bearcats, Thompson was held scoreless in the second half and attempted just one shot.
"Hollis didn't realize he was ‘0-for,'" said Thompson III, referring to Thompson's scoreless first half. The head coach and junior swingman are not related. "That's what makes him a great shooter."
The Blue and Gray had a spectacular game on the glass, pulling down 42 rebounds, including 19 offensive boards. The Hoyas were led by freshmen forwards Greg Whittington and Otto Porter, who had six and five offensive rebounds, respectively. Porter finished with another double-double in conference play, recording 13 points and 10 rebounds. Whittington added eight points and eight rebounds.
The Hoyas built a double-digit lead early in the second half, but turnovers again became an issue, as the Red Storm made a quick run to bring the score to 48-45. Then Thompson nailed a three-pointer in the left-wing, doubling Georgetown's lead. From there, the Hoyas charged toward the finish line, ending the game on a 21-4 run.
Thompson's outstanding shooting was aided by senior guard Jason Clark, who finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.
"If Hollis had made a couple of shots in the first half, Jason may have had 10 assists," John Thompson III said, eliciting a smile from Hollis Thompson, before turning serious. "But we don't lose confidence in [Hollis], we just have to make sure get him shots."
Defensively, Georgetown was able to hold St. John's leading scorer, freshman guard D'Angelo Harrison, to just five points on 1-of-12 shooting, and the Hoyas' didn't give up a three-pointer while forcing 14 turnovers. Freshman forward Moe Harkless played well for the Red Storm, leading all scorers with 21 points and pulling down 10 rebounds.
"The zone we were playing, they weren't able to get their normal penetration," Hollis Thompson said.
The Red Storm are a young team, starting four freshmen, but have faded from the national spotlight since Head Coach Steve Lavin brought in the nation's second-ranked recruiting class last spring after leading St. John's back to the NCAA tournament. However, three of the Red Storm's top-recruits were academically disqualified for the first semester, and have since reopened their recruitment. Lavin, meanwhile, remains absent from the sideline, as he battles against prostate cancer.
Yet despite the tough circumstances, the Red Storm have shown the ability to surprise, defeating Cincinnati on the road last Saturday. As a result, the Hoyas were not taking this win lightly.
"Every game is big in this league. Obviously, just emotionally, you don't want to lose three in a row and go back on the road again," Thompson III said. "Wins in this league, on the road, are hard to come by, and every night is a dogfight. This was a big game in that regard."
The Hoyas now travel to Chicago, where they will play the DePaul Blue Demons on Tuesday night. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m.