Without star sophomore guard Mac McClung, the Georgetown men’s basketball team defeated the St. John’s Red Storm 73-72 on a layup by senior center Omer Yurtseven with 10 seconds on the clock. Despite trailing the Red Storm by as many as 17 points in the second half, the Hoyas pulled off the comeback behind junior guard Jahvon Blair’s career-high 23 points, earning him recognition on the Big East Weekly Honor Roll.
The Hoyas (13-9, 3-6 Big East) topped the Red Storm (13-10, 2-8 Big East) for the second time this month, with this battle occurring in front of 8,000 fans at Madison Square Garden.
With only a six-man rotation, the few Georgetown players shined in their return to Madison Square Garden, where they had previously defeated the then-ranked Texas Longhorns on Nov. 21 and kept it close with then-no. 1 Duke on Nov. 22. Blair went 9 for 19 on the floor with three rebounds to combine with Yurtseven, who contributed his 12th double-double of the season with 13 points and 15 rebounds. Yurtseven overcame a slow start to his shooting performance to shoot 5 for 5 in the second half.
Senior guard Jagan Mosely rounded out the set of the team’s strong performers with 16 points, seven rebounds and five assists of his own. Georgetown concluded the game shooting 41.3% from the floor compared to St. John’s 40.9%. The Hoyas also outrebounded the Red Storm 43-37.
In front of a raucous New York City crowd of over 8,000, the Hoyas struggled from the tipoff. Both teams exchanged buckets early, but St. John’s used its home court advantage and momentum from the crowd to take an early 36-24 lead on a 9-0 run in the first half. In response to the Red Storm’s nine consecutive points, Mosely converted a three-pointer to end the run and bring the score to 38-29 at the half.
St. John’s came storming out of the tunnel at halftime to extend its lead to 50-33. When it seemed Georgetown was out of the game, Blair hit a shot from beyond the arc followed by a slam from Mosely to charge up the Hoyas bench with 15:09 remaining.
Georgetown pulled off a 12-5 run after facing the 17 point deficit, capped by two sunk free throws from graduate student guard Terrell Allen to pull within 10 of St. John’s.
The Blue and Gray continued to chip away at the Red Storm’s lead as Blair’s three-pointers cut the lead to 64-62 with under eight minutes to go in the contest. Blair then converted another three-pointer followed by a powerful slam from Yurtseven to tie the game at 64 and officially end the St. John’s advantage that had persisted over the previous 25 minutes.
After St. John’s took back the lead at 72-69 behind successful free throw shooting and two field goals, Mosely assisted Yurtseven on a jumper to propel Georgetown within one of St. John’s with 50 seconds to play. The Red Storm, plagued by two missed field goals as the clock ticked down, turned the ball over to the Hoyas with just 20 seconds left in regulation. The play prompted a Georgetown timeout as the Blue and Gray gained possession and stood poised with the opportunity to claim its first victory in over two weeks.
With the game on the line, Mosely dribbled up the floor on the inbound pass and found Yurtseven in the paint for the game-winning bucket to make the game 73-72 Georgetown. The Hoyas capped off the double-digit comeback to snap its three-game losing streak and leave the Garden with their third Big East win in a season of continued conference struggles.
Head Coach Patrick Ewing recognized the importance of the victory in his team’s tumultuous season, nodding to his players’ resilience in overcoming a depleted roster.
“To me, this is a great win. Undermanned, we were down 12 at one point, and my team didn’t give up. They keep fighting, they kept making plays,” Ewing said in an interview with GUHoyas.
Despite the momentum gained from their narrow win over the Red Storm, the Hoyas fell once again in conference play to Seton Hall by a score of 78-71 at Capital One Arena on Feb. 5, falling to 3-7 in the Big East.