A 27-point halftime deficit proved too much to overcome for the St. John’s men’s basketball team on Wednesday in the nation’s capital, as a strong second-half came up short, 87-66, against Georgetown at Capital One Arena.
St. John’s, which had committed no more than eight turnovers in any of its previous three games, tallied 10 first-half turnovers, as Georgetown (11-5, 1-2 BIG EAST) took a 53-26 lead into the locker room. The Johnnies (11-5, 0-3 BIG EAST) shot just 25.8 percent from the floor, including a 2-for-14 showing from three-point range, in the opening half.
LJ Figueroa recorded his fourth outing of 20 or more points this season, finishing with 23 points and five rebounds.
Rasheem Dunn netted a season-high 18 points in addition to logging nine boards, four assists and four steals. With his 11th point of the night, Dunn, who played two seasons at St. Francis Brooklyn before arriving at St. John’s, reached the 1,000-point mark for his collegiate career.
Marcellus Earlington chipped in eight points and six rebounds for the Johnnies.
With the game tied at four after three and a half minutes of action, Georgetown rattled off a 10-0 run to take a 14-4 advantage at the 14-minute mark of the opening period. St. John’s aided the Hoyas’ cause with five turnovers in the opening five minutes of action.
The Hoyas continued to build their lead over the remainder of the half, moving ahead by as many as 29, 45-16, at the final media timeout of the half following a 16-0 run.
Trailing by 27, 53-26, at the break, the Red Storm started the second half with an 11-0 spurt, quickly cutting the deficit to 16. Dunn capped the run with a put-back layup and a 3-pointer on consecutive possessions.
The Hoyas responded with a 7-0 run of their own, quickly restoring their lead to 23. St. John’s answered in kind with another 10-0 spurt to trim the Georgetown advantage to 13, 60-47, with 12:21 to go. The deficit sat at its smallest margin since the seven-minute mark of the first half.
After Georgetown ballooned the lead back to 19, 71-52, with just under eight minutes to play, St. John’s rattled off an 8-2 spurt to cut it once again to 13, 73-60, with five minutes remaining.
That was as close as the Johnnies would get down the stretch, as Georgetown pulled away for a 87-66 victory.
Mac McClung scored a game-high 24 points for the Hoyas, who assisted on 21 of their 26 made field goals.
St. John’s will return to action on Saturday, welcoming DePaul to Madison Square Garden for its first conference game of the season at “The Mecca.” Tip-off is scheduled for 12 p.m.
St. John’s Head Coach Mike Anderson
“First thing I told our guys is that I take the blame for this one here. I didn’t have them prepared for Georgetown. [Georgetown] had a week off and they were prepared for us. Pat [Ewing] and his staff, I give them credit. They came out and took the fight to us in the first half. Obviously, in the second half I thought was kind of a mild-caliber attack back, cut it down to 14. … [Georgetown] just looked like they played real loose and real free. We started the game off with five turnovers before the first timeout, which is something we’ve really been doing a good job of in taking care of the basketball. Again, tough loss. Life on the road in the BIG EAST.”
On the bench’s scoring…
“In the second half, I thought Marcellus Earlington and Rasheem Dunn were really engaged. I thought they brought energy. They brought a little bit of toughness and grit. We looked like the team that’s been playing all year long, so that’s a positive. The negative part of it is we got trounced. I mean we got beat pretty good, but we’ll take some of the positive and just try to get better. That’s one thing in this business and in this league, you have that short-term memory. With wins the same thing, you have to enjoy it until midnight and with losses you have to let it hurt until midnight, because it’s a quick turnaround for us. Our league is very, very good and we’ve seen that. … You better be prepared to play. Evidently, we didn’t. That’s one of the few times that I can honestly say we didn’t come out with that energy that you’ve got to have.”
On the contributions from Marcellus Earlington and Damien Sears…
“[Marcellus Earlington] was touching every ball, he was getting every loose ball, so it’s all about wanting to. I thought [Damien Sears] came out and gave us some big minutes. Other guys are starting to contribute.”
On if the lack of offense impacted the team’s defense…
“I think that’s a combination of the turnovers. We had some bad turnovers, I mean turnovers that just didn’t make any sense. Then of course now you’re not scoring.”
On starting a different lineup in the second half…
“Yeah, I’ve done that before though. I’ve put different guys up there if they’re playing well. Then of course tonight, you saw we didn’t have one of our key guys, Greg Williams Jr. I thought that was huge for us. This team doesn’t have a [large] margin for error with the pieces that we have. That was a big missing piece. He’s a glue guy.”
St. John’s Guard/Forward LJ Figueroa
On tonight’s game…
“During the flow of the game our coaches tell us to play loose on offense and play hard on defense. I think we dug ourselves in a big hole in the beginning of the game, but we’re never out of it. We just have to keep fighting and move on to the next game.”
On what the team was missing tonight…
“We came out flat. They were hitting shots. They did a great job moving the ball. They looked very sharp on offense. We were turning the ball over too much. We kept giving them the ball and they were executing when we did turn the ball over. I think we just dug ourselves in a big hole and we just have to learn how to execute at all times of the game.”
On the importance of Saturday’s game against DePaul…
“Every game is important. We’re looking forward to Saturday. It’s our next game. It’s our next mission we need to pass. We’re definitely going to go in tomorrow, focus on practice and do what we have to do to be the best team we can.”
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