MEN'S BASKETBALL | GU Tromps St. John's
Published: Saturday, January 4, 2014
Updated: Saturday, January 4, 2014 17:01
Lifted by an exceptional game from sophomore guard D’Vauntes Smith Rivera, Georgetown (10-3, 2-0 Big East) notched its second league win Saturday afternoon in a 77-60 victory over St. John’s (9-5, 0-2 Big East).
The Hoyas raced to a 23-6 lead in the first 10 minutes of the game, with Smith-Rivera scoring 14 of those points. The Red Storm struggled against the Blue and Gray’s pressure defense and were hard pressed to get good looks in the half court early.
“In the first half, not only did D’Vauntes get going but I thought his teammates did a good job of giving him the ball,” Head Coach John Thompson III said. “We guarded, we defended. Every basket they got was a tough shot. We got most of the rebounds.”
Georgetown’s stifling pressure defense forced St. John’s 11 turnovers in the first half — helping the Hoyas to 13 fast-break points before intermission. With Smith-Rivera 5-of-6 from beyond the arc, the Blue and Gray shot 62.5 percent from the floor.
Carrying a 42-16 lead after the break, however, Georgetown did not play at the same level in the second half. The Red Storm shot 56.7 percent from the floor — up from 21.4 percent in the first half — and managed to cut the lead from 26 at halftime to 17 when the final buzzer sounded.
As St. John’s made a belated rally, Thompson left his starters in the increasingly chippy game, and both senior guard Markel Starks and junior guard Jabril Trawick were assessed technical fouls in the final four minutes. But it was too little, too late for the Red Storm to get back in the game.
“Georgetown sustained a high level of execution, effort and physicality. We played a good second half but when you’re down 26 on the road, that’s not enough,” St. John’s Head Coach Steve Lavin said.
Smith-Rivera finished the game with a season-high 31 points, including six made three-pointers. Starks was the only other Hoya in double figures; he had 12 points and four assists.
“I think my teammates did a good job of finding me open,” Smith-Rivera said. “Markel did a great job today of finding open guys, and I was one of them.”
Junior center Josh Smith had five points, six rebounds and a surprising four steals — something that caught Thompson’s attention after the game.
“I thought Josh’s effort was much better today,” Thompson said. “Unfortunately, it was atypical. He has to give that effort. He has to give that energy for as long as he can, and then we’ll take him out.”
The Hoyas will attempt to stretch their Big East start to 3-0 at Providence on Wednesday night. Tipoff against the Friars — the first game in a three-game road trip — is set for 7 p.m., and the game will be televised on Fox Sports 1.