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

Hoyas Dominate Red Storm

It was a game the Hoyas could have easily overlooked.

With No. 9 West Virginia, a Marquette team that handed No. 1 Connecticut its only loss of the year and No. 4 Villanova looming ahead on its schedule, No. 15 Georgetown might have suffered a tremendous letdown Thursday night at MCI Center.

Except these Hoyas, cognizant of the five-game skid that ended their NCAA tournament hopes last year yet knowingly confident since taking down Duke, have come to accept that every game is important as the next.

“We can’t look ahead and let another team sneak up on us and knock us down,” sophomore guard Jon Wallace said Wednesday. “Coach always stays on us about focusing on the team we got at hand and not looking down the road. On any given night, anything can happen.”

What happened against St. John’s were a stifling defensive performance and a dominant 64-41 Georgetown victory.

The Hoyas (17-4, 8-2) cruised to their seventh straight win over the top-ranked defensive squad in the Big East. The Red Storm (10-11, 3-7) came into the contest allowing 57.7 points per game. But it was Georgetown’s defense – second-best in the conference (57.9) – which had the final say, holding a Big East opponent to its lowest output in a regular season game since a 77-40 win over Miami (Fla.) on Jan. 29, 1994.

Senior forward Brandon Bowman led the way with 16 points. Sophomore Roy Hibbert tacked on 14 points and eight rebounds.

Head Coach John Thompson III called the win “one of Roy’s best games, when you look at his overall presence.”

“He scored a few points, he went and got rebounds out of his area – big, big rebounds – and he had a defensive presence,” Thompson said. “He’s scored more points, he’s had more rebounds, but I think this is one of the best games he’s played this year.”

St. John’s Head Coach Norm Roberts also noticed Hibbert’s effectiveness.

“I thought Hibbert was the big difference early on,” Roberts said. “We couldn’t keep him off the glass. He kept balls alive even when we played good defense.”

The 7-foot-2 center only played eight minutes in the first meeting this year between the Hoyas and the Red Storm, a 79-65 Georgetown victory at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 8. In that outing, St. John’s interior defenders, juniors Lamont Hamilton and Aaron Spears, effectively shut down the big man, holding him to four points and prompting Thompson to use senior Amadou Kilkenny-Diaw in his stead.

This time around, Hibbert proved to be a dominant paint presence, finding holes and hitting five of seven shots.

“I think [Hibbert] was a little revved up because [Hamilton and Spears] outplayed him the first time up there,” Thompson said. “Their plan was to go in and come at him, and they did a good job of that the first time. It was good to see him respond.”

Bowman played cleanly, sinking seven of nine shots from the floor and committing no turnovers – a feat he also accomplished in the first contest with the Red Storm.

“I think I only took like one or two jump shots the whole night. I’ve been working on finishing because I don’t think I’ve been finishing well,” Bowman said. “Couple steals, fast breaks. . It was just my night around the rim.”

Fifth-year Darrel Owens and sophomore Jeff Green each chipped in nine points for Georgetown. Green added three blocks while Wallace had five points, four assists and three steals.

Freshman Jessie Sapp, playing 18 minutes, contributed seven points.

At the opposite end of the floor, St. John’s spent the night squandering the few opportunities it did have. The Red Storm shot barely 45 percent from the charity stripe – including 1-of-6 in the first half – and made just 33 percent from elsewhere on the court.

Leading scorer Daryll Hill (12.7 ppg), a 6-foot junior who sat out the teams’ first meeting with a knee injury, scored a team-high seven points. He also matched a season-high six turnovers, three of which came on traveling calls.

Georgetown opened the contest with a 14-2 run and at one point held a 28-10 lead before St. John’s managed a 8-2 run to close out the half, going into intermission down by 12.

The Hoyas’ lead would only grow more and more comfortable throughout the second half, thanks to an 18-2 run out of the gate. The Red Storm did not score for a seven-and-a-half minute stretch.

Georgetown led by as many as 32, when Green hit two free throws with 7:42 left to put his team up 60-28.

For St. John’s, the loss marked the team’s sixth consecutive defeat and its second straight defeat against Georgetown. The Red Storm had won nine of the last 12 matches in the series coming into Thursday’s game.

The Hoyas play host to the No. 9 Mountaineers (17-5, 8-1) Sunday night at 7 p.m. Georgetown suffered a 68-61 setback at then-No. 16 West Virginia on Jan. 11.

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