The Red Storm’s first meeting with Georgetown marked the nadir of its season, but the rematch proved to be arguably the most impressive win of the season, beating the Hoyas 82-60.
“When a team beats you, as Georgetown did earlier this season, you want to come back and beat them,” head coach Steve Lavin said.
“We did a good job playing as a group,” said D’Angelo Harrison, who scored 24 points in the win. “We were hungry for this win, came out with a lot of energy and sustained it for 40 minutes.”
Rysheed Jordan played his best game for the Red Storm, scoring 24 points, including the first seven of the game.
“Any time you have a freshman point guard, there’s going to be a transition from high school to college,” Lavin said.
Georgetown cut the lead to seven in the second half, and it was 67-57 when Jabril Trawick fouled out. Trawick and St. John’s big man Chris Obekpa were called for a double technical, but it was Trawick’s fifth of the game.
“When he went out, the ball deflated on them,” Sir’ Dominic Pointer said.
St. John’s ended the game on a 15-3 run. Georgetown did not hit a field goal for the last 6:56.
The shellacking of Georgetown marked the Red Storm’s first win over the Hoyas since January 3, 2011. Harrison spoke about the significance of finally defeating one of the Johnnies biggest rivals.
“This group has never beat Georgetown before so we’re going to celebrate it probably for the next hour and then we’re going to flush it,” he said.
St. John’s moved to 7-6 in the Big East after the win, after starting 0-5. For Steve Lavin, early criticism didn’t mean much. The coach compared his years at UCLA, both in terms of media criticism to Green Beret training. He also had to deal with coaching in the shadow of John Wooden.
“It was like the young Cardinal trying to lead mass with the Pope behind your back,” he said.
Now the tournament is within reach, but the team is staying grounded.
“We talk about staying hungry and humble. Don’t get caught up in the fantasy of the future, don’t dwell on the past,” Lavin said.
Still, that doesn’t mean the coach thinks his team has peaked, as he said “I still think our best basketball is ahead of us.”