The #19 Georgetown men’s basketball team (11-3, 1-2) traveled to New York City to face Big East rival St. John’s (9-7, 1-3) yesterday morning. The team was without their second leading scorer in sophomore forward Greg Whittington as it was announced before the game that he had violated a team rule and would be left off the roster. The Hoyas did not seem fazed though as they ran the Red Storm for 67 points while holding their opponent to a mere 51.
“As a team, we just had to come together and certain people had to step up to carry the load. It’s a team effort,” said sophomore forward Otto Porter Jr. of playing without Whittington.
Sophomore guard Jabril Trawick got the start in Whittington’s absence and started the game’s scoring off with a dunk. The Hoyas did not stop there as superb passing from Porter and junior forward Nate Lubick as well as strong transition efforts from junior guard Markel Starks led the team to take an early lead at 19-8.
Georgetown was seemingly able to shake off the rust that had hung with them after the break and came out with purpose from the get-go. St. John’s could not handle the smothering defense bearing down on them as they were either forced to run down the shot clock or choose more difficult shots. Georgetown pulled away with much help from Porter to make the score 33-10 with only five minutes left in the half.
Several fouls by the Hoyas in the final minutes of the half allowed St. John’s to battle back to bring the score within 17 at 36-19. The team showed just how dangerous they can be when moving quickly off a defensive rebound or grabbing a steal. Porter himself secured nine rebounds in the first in addition to three steals.
“We just wanted to come out and make sure that we corrected every little thing,” Porter said in regards to their improvement over their two losses.
The second half would prove to be slower than the first but nonetheless the Hoyas pulled to a 20 point lead just two minutes into the half. From then on though the Red Storm began to do a better job of matching Georgetown’s scoring and the lead hovered around 20. Defense for the Blue and Gray was impressive throughout the game, highlighted by big plays such as Trawick viciously swatting a layup attempt by Jamal Branch of St. John’s.
“We just played defense. There’s no tricks, no gimmicks, no anything like that. It’s being able to guard, having your teammates back. The things that we’ve always emphasized from day one,” said Starks.
Offense for the Hoyas started to get sloppy down the stretch as the team appeared to slow things down compared to the first half. Regardless, the team managed to bring the lead to 24 with about 13 minutes left as Starks found the lane for a layup to make it 51-27. The St. John’s defense could not figure out how to stop Porter and thus resorted to fouling him. This was a major factor in reaching their largest lead of the game at 61-35 with five minutes to go. As the game winded down into its final minutes, St. John’s finally went on a run by dropping three 3 pointers in a row but it was far too late. Junior John Caprio stood out in the final minute by jumping for a steal, blocking a shot, and grabbing a rebound.
“Our guys responded today, up and down the line, each and every person that was called upon came in and did their part,” said head coach John Thompson III of their play.
With the final score of 67-51, the Hoyas were finally able to get their first victory of 2013 in exciting fashion. They return to the Verizon Center Wednesday night at 7 PM to face Providence in an attempt to even their Big East record.