New York, NY—The Big East competition in both the men’s and women’s divisions are at a very high level. Six of the 16 teams in each are ranked in the top 25 nationally. Only two women’s teams and three men’s have won/lost marks below .500. On Sunday afternoon, the men’s and women’s teams of St. John’s lost both games in the doubleheader at Madison Square Garden.
After the game, Georgetown Coach John Thompson described the level of Big East competition, “Each game in our league is big.”
The men of St. John’s (8-9, 2-4) made a strong impression on the 11th ranked Georgetown Hoyas (14-3, 4-2) by taking a 13-5 lead at 12:18. Freshman Moe Harkless led the attack with seven points.
The Hoyas ended the Red Storm advantage by scoring 12 unanswered points to take a 17-13 lead. The first half concluded with Georgetown leading, 25-19.
Each team had identical statistics in several categories during the first half, field goals, turnovers, assists and blocks.
The Red Storm cut the deficit to three, 28-25, at 17:06 of the second half on a layup by Harkless. Each move by St. John’s was met by a stronger response from the visiting Hoyas who netted the next nine points to again raise the lead to double digits, 37-25.
St. John’s made a final run to slash the advantage to three, 48-45, with 6:36 on the clock. The Hoyas used their superiority in size and experience to crush St. John’s, 69-49, by outscoring them, 21-4 to conclude the contest.
Assistant Coach Mike Dunlap, running the games for the recovering Steve Lavin of St. John’s, gave credit to Georgetown forward Hollis Thompson for the defeat, “In the second half, Hollis [Thompson] got loose on us. He made the difference.”
Thompson, the leading three-point shooter in the Big East, uncharacteristically missed all his shots from the floor in the first half. In the second half, he netted all five of his shots from beyond the arc and both from closer range. He scored all 20 of his points in the second half.
Dunlap was fielding a team that played only seven men, five of them freshmen, “I think our resources are a little shallow to keep that [defense] up over the second half.”
Other factors also were in Georgetown’s control. The outrebounded the Red Storm (42-34); they doubled the number of field goals scored by St. John’s in the second stanza; they prevented the Red Storm from scoring a three-pointer; they received 23 from their bench to only seven from St. John’s.
According to Georgetown Coach John Thompson III the change came at a certain time, “Once we picked up our energy level, the offense improved and the defense improved.”
In the second game, the Marquette Golden Eagles (12-6, 3-2) edged the St. John’s Red Storm (11-7, 3-2), 63-55. The game was tied five times and the lead changed hands on 11 occasions.
Marquette was ahead by double figures with eight minutes left in the game, but the Red Storm cut the advantage to four points, 59-55, with 57 seconds remaining. The Golden Eagles scored the final four points to earn the win.
After the contest, St. John’s Coach Kim Barnes Arico commented, “When we bring our A game, we are capable of beating anyone in the country…But when we don’t bring our A game, anyone is capable of doing the same to us.”