The Georgetown Men’s basketball team (16-4, 6-3 Big East) defeated St. John’s (14-8, 6-4 Big East) at the Verizon Center earlier today with a score of 68-56 in front of 15,000 Gray Out fans. The Hoyas were led by junior forward Nate Lubick as he scored a career-high 16 points and secured 10 rebounds to earn his first double-double. Georgetown has now won six of their last seven games, with that stretch beginning the first time they faced St. Johns at Madison Square Garden on January 12. Today also marked Head Coach John Thompson III’s 200th win with the Hoyas.
The Hoyas came out strong both offensively and defensively in the first half against the Johnnies. Shooting 58 percent from the field, they were able to score 39 points by the end of the half, which included 5 three-pointers. Rebounding was also a high point in the early going as the Hoyas out-rebounded the Red Storm 21 to 9, five of these coming as part of the day’s standout performance by Lubick. Sophomore forward Otto Porter Jr. got off to a solid start in the first half by making all three of his shots for 7 points, but with just over 7:30 left he was subbed out and would not return until the second half.
“He’s been playing at a very high level for a long time now, to tell you the truth. I said a couple of games ago, he wasn’t up here, but I said Nate gave us quality stats, not quantity stats. When we need something done, he gets a rebound, makes an assist, gets a basket. He’s been doing that consistently and tonight was no exception,” said Thompson III of Lubick’s play.
St. John’s was held to just 34 percent shooting, but was able to keep the score within 11 by making 8 of 12 free throw attempts. The half was topped off with another acrobatic play coming from sophomore forward Aaron Bowen. Freshman guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera bounced a three-point attempt off the rim when Bowen came running in from outside the three-point line to emphatically dunk the rebound.
The offense slowed down considerably in the second half for Georgetown as St. John’s was able to tighten up their defense in the paint and force shots from the perimeter. The Hoyas tossed up one more shot than in the first half but were only able to get 10 of them to go, dropping down to 46% shooting for the game. St. John’s also stepped up their rebounding on both sides of the court with 25 compared to Georgetown’s 20, allowing them to keep the score marginally close without much help from free throws.
The Hoya defense remained sturdy for the second half though as they were able to keep the Johnnies at 31 percent shooting on the game. St. John’s relied heavily on production from JaKarr Sampson and Marco Bourgault in order to keep the game from getting completely away from them, who had 26 of the team’s 28 points in the second. The team’s leading scorer D’Angelo Harrison, who averages around 19 points per game, was only able to manage 2 points off of free throws in the game.
“We knew going into this game that we have to stop him. Everyone has to know where he is whenever he’s on the court. Knowing that, I don’t think we did as good a job as we could’ve, should’ve with some of the other guys, but I probably would not be wrong if I said that every team that plays them goes in saying we have to stop him,” said Thompson III of Harrison.
Although many of the Hoyas’ points came from inside the paint, the team did not take a single free throw until late in the second half when sophomore guard Jabril Trawick was fouled. Thompson III credited this to strong offensive rebounding throughout the game.
“I think we did a good job hitting the offensive boards and with [some] exceptions we wanted to get the ball inside, whether it was man or zone and then play from there. It’s not like we were just passing around the perimeter, we were going inside and you can’t shoot foul shots if the ref doesn’t call fouls,” he said.
With Porter Jr. only playing 27 total minutes today, both Trawick, Smith-Rivera, and sophomore forward Mikael Hopkins were able to get extended minutes. The team’s ability to function on offense without relying on Porter Jr. is a promising sign moving forward. Their next match up will be against Rutgers in New Jersey next Saturday at 12 p.m.
File Photo: Miles Gavin Meng/Georgetown Voice (Jan. 30, vs. Seton Hall)