Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

MEN’S BASKETBALL | Hoyas Extend Losing Streak With Narrow Loss to St. John’s

Despite mounting a scoring run toward the end of the game, Georgetown men’s basketball came up just short, losing to St. John’s 90-85.
GUHoyas | Sophomore guard Jayden Epps scored a game-high 31 points for the Hoyas in a tough 90-85 loss to St. John’s.

With 43 seconds left to play in the Georgetown University men’s basketball team’s contest against St. John’s University on Feb. 21, senior guard Wayne Bristol Jr. sank a 3 to put the Hoyas within three points of an epic 21-point comeback. At long last, the Hoya faithful seemed poised to celebrate Georgetown’s second conference win of the season. 

The celebration would have to wait, however, as the Hoyas (8-18, 1-14 Big East) were unable to get a stop on the other end, allowing the Red Storm (15-12, 7-9 Big East) to sneak away with a 90-85 victory.

Georgetown fans had high hopes going into the home matchup against St. John’s. Playing a team ranked just one place above in conference standings, the Hoyas looked to end their 10-game losing streak. 

However, it was a slow start for the Hoyas. Georgetown went down 7-0 after three minutes, as St. John’s guard Jordan Dingle, who led the Red Storm with 22 points, established himself as a threat early on. 

Although the Hoyas would bring themselves within two points of the Red Storm with a 3-pointer from graduate forward Ismael Massoud off the bench, their struggle to defend the Red Storm’s dominant paint play and difficulty getting shots to fall led to a 10-0 St. John’s run and a score of 35-14 with 7:14 to go in the half.

Yet, just a few minutes later, a dunk from first-year center Drew Fielder with 4:35 to go shifted the momentum in favor of Georgetown. Nine consecutive points off 3-pointers followed, with two 3s from first-year guard Rowan Brumbaugh and one from sophomore guard Jayden Epps, respectively. With 1:21 remaining, a 3-point play from Fielder narrowed St. John’s lead to just seven points. 

“I truly, truly believe the only thing that changed was our attitude, our effort and our energy,” Head Coach Ed Cooley told The Hoya in a postgame press conference. “It’s not like we had a magical play or came to the bench and had some super Gatorade. I don’t think we did anything different other than a will and a want.”

GUHoyas | First-year guard Rowan Brumbaugh showed flashes of brilliances in a strong showing against the Red Storm.

With the student section alive once again, Georgetown closed out the half on a 14-2 run, trailing St. John’s 39-32. 

Despite ending the first half on an 18-4 run, the Hoyas started the second half just as they did the first: slowly, torn apart on defense and unable to find consistency on offense. The Red Storm went on a 9-0 run over two minutes which put them up big once more, 58-41, with 13:03 left in the half. 

The Hoyas could have put their heads down, but they responded with two three-pointers, by Fielder and Bristol Jr., respectively, to cut the lead to 11 and keep Georgetown in the game. 

Every time Georgetown scored to cut into the Red Storm’s lead, it seemed the opponents were ready to respond. Both teams kept finding the basket, and the Hoyas trailed by at least 9 points until 2:24 remained in the contest

At that point, a 3 by Bristol Jr. cut the lead to 80-73 and kickstarted an 11-4 Georgetown run fueled by Epps’ playmaking. With 43 ticks remaining, Bristol Jr.’s third 3-pointer of the game brought the Hoyas within one possession for the first time in the second half. 

It was there that Georgetown’s chances fizzled out, however. A fast-break dunk by St. John’s, and a missed 3 by Epps, put the game out of reach for the Hoyas.

The Hoyas showed major improvement in 3-point shooting this game, converting an efficient 50% of their attempts from behind the arc for only the second time all season.

In fact, Georgetown’s offense was humming on all three levels, especially in the second half. The Hoyas scored 85 points, their second-highest points total in conference play this year, on 47% shooting, their best percentage against a Big East opponent thus far.

The Hoyas frequently turned to Epps to get them a bucket down the stretch, and more often than not he answered the call, leading all scorers in the game with 31 points, along with 7 assists. Brumbaugh, back in the starting lineup for the first time since Jan. 14 against UConn (24-3, 14-2 Big East), also impressed with 15 points and 7 assists

The problem for Georgetown, notwithstanding their high offensive output, was that their defense remained porous from start to finish, unable to get stops when the team needed them most to claw back into the game. 

“I’m disappointed in our overall defense. You score 85 points and lose. You’re supposed to win those games, right?” Cooley said. “It’s unfortunate that we’re not better defensively this late in the season, so the staff and I have to do a better job, and the players have to hold themselves accountable as well.”

As Georgetown prepares for its away game at DePaul (3-23, 0-15 Big East) on Feb. 24 at 6 p.m. — perhaps their best remaining chance of notching a second conference win — Cooley blended compassion and urgency in his mindset for the last five regular season games.

“I want us to play with some purpose, some energy, some love,” he said. “We need to win. I don’t give a damn if we play the Globetrotters, we need to win.”

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