MEN'S BASKETBALL | St. John’s Rematch Not to be Overlooked
Published: Friday, February 1, 2013
Updated: Friday, February 1, 2013 00:02
No matter what happens in tomorrow’s Georgetown-St. John’s game, a winning streak will end.
The Red Storm (14-7, 6-3 Big East) visit Verizon Center tomorrow afternoon on a five-game win streak looking to down the hosting Hoyas (15-4, 5-3 Big East), who have won three in a row themselves.
After a mediocre performance in the nonconference schedule and a rocky start to Big East play — including a 67-51 blowout at Georgetown’s hands at Madison Square Garden — the Johnnies have rebounded in a big way. They beat then-No. 20 Notre Dame at home and swept the Big East cellar in the next four games, with wins over Rutgers, Seton Hall and DePaul twice.
The Hoyas, meanwhile, are still riding high after back-to-back upsets of then-No. 24 and then-No. 5 Louisville last week. The Blue and Gray were firing on all cylinders once again Wednesday night against Seton Hall, when they coasted to a 74-52 win.
The Johnnies flopped miserably in the teams’ last matchup and will likely have made adjustments to avoid another disappointment, so the Hoyas will look to step on their visitors’ throats early to avoid any chance of an upset.
Sophomore guard D’Angelo Harrison has hit nine threes in the Red Storm’s last three games — all relatively close wins — and will likely be the focal point of Georgetown’s defensive scheme. The Hoyas are usually quite effective at defending the three-point shot, but the absence of sophomore wing Greg Whittington (academic ineligibility) has left holes in John Thompson III’s perimeter defense.
The Johnnies, meanwhile, will be zeroed in on sophomore forward Otto Porter Jr. and junior guard Markel Starks, both of whom have been lighting it up over the past three games. Porter Jr. has been consistently excellent throughout conference play, averaging better than 19 points and nine rebounds per game. Starks, who struggled with consistency earlier in the season, has found his stroke and perfected a deadly step-back jumper that kept the Hoyas alive in their upset of Louisville.
Georgetown is notorious for playing down to inferior competition — especially after big victories — but showed no inclination of that Wednesday night. The Hoyas forced Seton Hall into 25 turnovers in a dominant wire-to-wire victory.
If Georgetown can hold Harrison and freshman forward Jakarr Sampson in check while maintaining the high-octane offense it displayed in the teams’ last meeting, Saturday should be another cakewalk for the Hoyas. But St. John’s has seen Georgetown once before and has proven its worth against teams as talented as Notre Dame and Cincinnati, so a Blue and Gray win is no guarantee.
Saturday’s tipoff is scheduled for 4 p.m.