The Hoyas rang in the New Year in style Thursday evening, closing the decade with a victory as they started the 2010 Big East season on the right foot.

No. 13 Georgetown (10-1, 1-0 Big East) beat St. John’s (10-3, 0-1), 66-59, behind 21 points from junior guard Chris Wright and 15 apiece from sophomore center Greg Monroe and junior guard Austin Freeman.

The Hoyas, who lost two close games to the Red Storm late last season, overcame adversity in the second half after surrendering a nine-point lead.

“What this group is appreciating and getting much better is in tight situations,” Head Coach John Thompson III said. “There was a point where we were in a time out and Chris [Wright] starts yelling at everyone, `Hey, this is a key point. This is a key next four minutes. You got to play well right now.’

“I think this group has an appreciation and understanding that when the game gets tight, when the clock is running down, when there is not much time, that point is when we have to believe in each other and stick with our stuff and grind it out and that’s what we did.”

Keyed by a slam and a three-pointer from junior forward Justin Brownlee, St. John’s exploded for 10 straight points in 82 seconds to take a 51-50 lead with 9:10 left in the second half.

An offensive rebound and put-back dunk by junior forward Julian Vaughn sparked a 7-0 run for Georgetown that gave the Hoyas a 60-54 lead with five minutes remaining. The Red Storm cut the lead to three on a triple from junior guard D.J. Kennedy, but that is as close as they would get.

Georgetown built a 12-point first half lead, but St. John’s cut it to two with under a minute remaining before a Freeman three gave the Hoyas a 32-27 halftime edge.

“It was a terrific Big East basketball game,” St. John’s Head Coach Norm Roberts said. “We let them get out to too much of a lead. The ball kind of fell their way a little bit. They’re more experienced just like our team is.”

The Hoyas’ bench was outscored by the Red Storm’s reserves 33-0. Forwards Hollis Thompson and Henry Sims combined for one shot attempt while mostly backing up Vaughn. The other four starters played at least 35 minutes each. Monroe logged 39 minutes, taking a brief rest in the middle of the first half.

“It’s the Big East. They are a physical team. They’re a veteran team, they’re a deep team,” Thompson said. “One thing that people talk about is depth. … But the guys they have coming off the bench are just as good if not better than the guys they have out there first.”

Junior guard Dwight Hardy led St. John’s with 14 points off the bench, while Kennedy scored 11 and Brownlee chipped in 10.

Georgetown will travel to the Midwest to play DePaul (7-6, 0-1 Big East) on Sunday. The Blue Demons, who the Hoyas beat in an ugly 48-40 game last year in Washington, have not won a regular season conference game since March 6, 2008.

Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. Eastern at the Allstate Arena outside of Chicago.

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