Ruthie Braunstein/The Hoya Freshman forward Mike Sweetney and the Hoyas split a pair of games with Rutgers and St. John’s this week. NEW YORK, Feb. 21 – St. John’s staved off a late-game comeback and a last-second offensive attack to down No. 21 Georgetown 70-73 and drop the Hoyas to 7-6 in conference play.

For St. John’s, the win was redemption for Sunday’s embarrassing 91-59 loss to No. 4 Duke. For Georgetown, the game was one more in a string of humbling Big East losses.

“You can’t forget what happened on Sunday and you shouldn’t,” St. John’s Head Coach Mike Jarvis said. “That’s when you find out what your guys are really made of.”

St. John’s recovery was spearheaded by forward Sharif Fordham, who was tenacious on the boards, pulling down 16 rebounds and putting up 15 points.

The Red Storm offense, which shot an embarrassing 25 for 70 in Sunday’s game, regained some of its composure early on, jumping to a quick 12-4 lead in the first minutes. The Hoyas grabbed a brief 13-12 edge after a three-pointer by freshman guard Demetrius Hunter and a layup by senior center Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje, but St. John’s Kyle Cuffe answered with a three that put the Storm up 14-13 and gave them the lead for the rest of the half.

Junior point guard Kevin Braswell hit a three-pointer with 10 seconds reamaining in the half, cutting St. John’s lead to 40-46. For the first half, Georgetown made 13 of 24 field goals but committed 13 turnovers.

The Hoyas (20-6, 7-6) gained momentum in the second half and pulled within grasp of the win. With nine minutes to play, Red Storm starting center Donald Emanuel notched his fifth foul, St. John’s lost possession after a shot clock violation and Georgetown freshman forward Mike Sweetney dunked it to narrow St. John’s lead to 62-65.

The Hoyas then kept with the Red Storm (14-11, 8-5), never letting the Storm’s lead extend beyond five. But the turnovers that had plagued the Hoyas in the first half started again. The Hoyas had two traveling violations with the clock running down, hindering their efforts even further.

With 1:30 to play, St. John’s guard Willie Shaw nailed a three-pointer that put the Red Storm up 71-65 and the Madison Square Garden crowd went wild, thinking the shot had sealed the game.

But senior guard Anthony Perry answered back, sinking a three to make the score 68-71. On the next St. John’s possession, Braswell stole the ball at half court and scored an easy layup bringing the score to 70-71.

St. John’s Reggie Jessie missed a shot, and Fordham picked up the loose ball for the Red Storm. St. John’s maintained control of the ball until sophomore forward Victor Samnick stopped the clock with 24 seconds left with a foul on Red Storm point guard Omar Cook. Cook sank two foul shots and gave St. John’s a 73-70 edge.

A shot attempt by Hunter was knocked out of bounds, Braswell missed a last-second three-pointer and St. John’s improved to 8-5 in Big East play with the 73-70 win.

Boumtje-Boumtje saw increased playing time against the Red Storm. He was on the floor for 34 minutes, scoring 14 points and pulling down 12 rebounds.

“Ruben played as well as he’s played all season,” Esherick said. “There were some things that we did well that we haven’t done in weeks.”

Georgetown will square off in a rematch with No. 17 Syracuse Saturday at noon at MCI Center. The Orangemen are battling the Notre Dame Fighting Irish for first place in the Big East West Division. Georgetown is three games behind the Irish.

The Big East tournament in New York is less than two weeks away, and it is likely that Georgetown will have to sweep its remaining games to secure a first-round bye.

Related Links

 Men’s Basketball Page

 Men’s Basketball Schedule

 Men’s Basketball Roster

 Box Score vs St. John’s

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