Taste of their own medicine

Johnnies do a complete 180 and avenge worst loss of the season

Photo: Jalen Miller
Photo: Jalen Miller

The St. John’s men’s basketball got what they have been looking for since an abysmal first half performance on Jan. 4 in Washington D.C. against the Georgetown Hoyas and that was redemption. The Red Storm offense fired on all cylinders Sunday night at Madison Square Garden beating the Hoyas 82-60. The Johnnies never trailed at any point on the night.

“I’m pleased that we took another step in a positive direction as a basketball team,” St. John’s head coach Steve Lavin said. “When a team beats you, as Georgetown did earlier this season, you want to come back and beat them. I think the bigger picture here is that the team is continuing to make strides in a positive direction. It’s a team that, since the last time we played Georgetown, has continued to improve on a daily basis and now we are seeing the dividends of that hard work.”

The Red Storm’s (17-9, 7-6) win over the Hoyas (15-10, 6-7) marked the Johnnies first victory over Georgetown in their last six attempts. The win also gave St. John’s their fifth straight victory, all in Big East play, and their eighth win in their last nine contests.

St. John’s was led on the night by a tremendous performance from their backcourt of Rysheed Jordan and D’Angelo Harrison.

Jordan showed everybody in attendance on Sunday why he was so highly recruited by St. John’s. Jordan had his best game on the season by scoring a career high 24 points on 8-for-11 from the field.

“Rysheed is acclimating to the highest level of college basketball,” Lavin said. “The more reps he gets with each practice and each game allows him to elevate his play. That’s why nobody on the team or the staff is surprised by his performance. We’ve been around him every day and seen how he’s blossomed, so when he does these things on the court, to us that’s just him being Rysheed.”

“Maturity,” was what Junior Sir’ Dominic Pointer said on Rysheed Jordan’s performance. “He stepped up. He has come into his own. At the beginning he was hesitant and a bit shaky but now he has become the point guard we know he can be. This is not anything new to us, we’re not surprised, we were jus waiting on him to come.”

Harrison’s performance during the Red Storm’s recent winning streak has continually been consistent as he again had a team high in scoring with 24 points and was lethal from the free throw line going 8-for-8. During the five-game wining streak Harrison is 41-of-43 on free throws.

St. John’s first half from their January match up with Georgetown, where the Red Storm only scored 16 points, was certainly on the Johnnies mind as they came out on fire in the first half, opening up the game on a 15-0 run, with Rysheed Jordan scoring the games first seven points. The Red Storm had one of their best shooting half’s on the season as they shot 17-for-25 (68 percent) from the field to get out to a 46-28 lead over the Hoyas going into the half.

In the second half St. John’s got a bit careless with the ball and missed a few easy shots that allowed Georgetown to go on a 17-4 run to get the score to 56-49 in favor of the Red Storm. But a D’Angelo Harrison three-pointer at the 10:20 mark got the Garden crowd roaring and the Johnnies wouldn’t look back as they were able to run away with the game from that point on.

St. John’s will be back at the Garden, looking for their sixth straight victory, on Tuesday Feb. 18 to take on the Butler Bulldogs.

“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,” D’Angelo Harrison said. “We have to get ready for Butler. They’re a great team so we’ve got to flush this one. It’s a one-game winning streak, so this one’s over. We’ve got to get another one so that’s where our mindset is at right now.”