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The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

St. John’s Sound Off: Georgetown

Torch Design / Megan Chapman

‘St. John’s Sound Off’ is a segment for exclusive insights and memorable moments from the press conferences of the St. John’s University basketball teams. We deliver the most compelling quotes from coaches and players associated with the Red Storm and offer a recap of remarks made about every game.

The St. John’s Men’s Basketball team secured an 86-78 win against Georgetown in their last game of the regular season as they gear up for the Big East tournament.

Rick Pitino giving Georgetown credit:

“I want to give a lot of credit to Gerorgetown because when you don’t win many games, it starts to wear on you. But here’s what this home court, which was great tonight, does. You always get the best of everybody because it’s Madison Square Garden. You are always going to get the best because everybody wants to play at Madison Square Garden.

Rick Pitino on RJ Luis Jr.’s performance:

“This young man here is not in shape to play like he did tonight, and RJ doesn’t like to have on a resume that he is a great defensive player but he saved us on the offensive glass, saved us with scoring and saved us with great defense on Epps. So, I’m real proud of him. He’s got unlimited potential in almost every phase of the game. He’s a terrific young man and I’m very excited the way he played tonight defensively because he’s so long. He’s actually a very cerebral basketball player but he played a lot of minutes and must be exhausted.”

Rick Pitino on the win against Georgetown:

“So we’re happy with this win, but we give a lot of credit to them. In two games now they’ve shot 50% from the three point line. The bank with no time left on the clock really hurt us there. We had momentum and then he banked it in. That hurt us. But we needed a game like this because when you get ready for the Big East tournament, you want to see a game like this to prepare you for it.”

Rick Pitino on putting RJ Luis Jr. on Jayden Epps:

“His length bothers people. He’s not only 6 ‘7 but he’s got a wingspan, and RJ has a lot to learn about defense off the ball but on the ball he’s very good. We weren’t able to stop Epps, and we felt we didn’t have to blitz, we didn’t have to trap ‘cause they kept coming with their shooters on blitzes and traps. But RJ made it very difficult on him”

Rick Pitino on ending the regular season 19-and-12:

“Well, I think we’re playing terrific offensive basketball though we turned it over too much today, which we haven’t been doing. We didn’t pass the ball as well as we have in the past. I think senior night had the guys out of whack a little bit in terms of doing things that we’ve been doing, but to finish 19-and-12, we’re very proud of that.”

Rick Pitino on the Big East tournament: 

“We put ourselves in the hunt to go to the big dance and I don’t think, as you all know, there is a tournament in all of basketball, as good as the Big East tournament. There’s nothing like it. We don’t have football, it’s all the best basketball in the most famous arenas. I love it, the players are going to love it. It will be RJ’s first time, DJ’s first time and they are about ready to see one of the greatest events in all of college basketball.”

RJ Luis Jr. on defending Jayden Epps:

“You know, Coach P, in timeout, he asked me to guard him so I felt like I had to step up and slow him down because he was scoring a lot. So I think me stopping him helped slow down the pace, not only for him, but also his teammates and I think that was important in getting this win.”

Rick Pitino on Georgetown’s performance:

“I think they played a great game, great game and I think it is very impressive that they have what? I don’t know how many, two or three wins, to play that well. They executed great, made their free throws, they out rebounded us. So I think they played brillant basketball for a team that hasn’t won very much and they are a dangerous team to play in the tournament because obviously they like Madison Square Garden.” 

RJ Luis Jr. on persevering after missing free throws:

“I was just focusing on the next play, I know I missed the two free throws but I can’t hang my head on that. So next play I got a steal and a dunk so, it was pretty cool. The crowd showed a lot of energy and I feel like that gave us more momentum on defense.”

Daniss Jenkins on his performance:

“Well I just looked at seven turnovers so, I could have been better with that. But other than that it was just, I mean it was senior night, you know. Emotions is high, we weren’t trying to worry about it. At the same time, I mean I just feel like we were trying to get a win. We were trying to get better every possession to prepare for the Big East tournament. So now to prepare for it, we’re really trying to work on defense, that’s it. I think if we take away my turnovers, yeah I don’t see too many more. So if I cut down on those turnovers and then we take care of our defense, I think we would be in pretty good shape for the Big East tournament.”

Rick Pitino on Daniss Jenkins:

“He did things that he doesn’t normally do but you have to understand hes dogging the ball the entire night, running the team, and he plays 37 minutes in the game as Sim picked up those two quick fouls. So, you know, he’s not one that’s going to make, he may make two or three, but he’s not going to make seven. He just played way too many minutes. He is a great player, one of the premier guards in the country and an NBA talent. I can’t say enough of how proud I am of him.  He killed it in Iona, now he’s killing it at St. John’s and wherever he goes he’ll kill it ‘cause he’s got the stuff to make it happen.”

Rick Pitino on keeping momentum for the tournament:

“I think we’re just looking forward to it. I love the Big East tournament. My players are getting ready to find out how great of a tournament it is. We realized that we have a chance to go to the NCAA. That’s why these guys came here. So we’re getting better and better, improving. Our press was non-existent tonight so we came out of it ‘cause we were fouling too much. But that’s okay. I think a lot of their threes were very difficult, very difficult and got to give them credit. They made the shots. They’re a good shooting team. That’s how they win.”

Daniss Jenkins on reaching the NCAA tournament with Pitino:

“It was special to go at Iona, ‘cause that’s why I went there, played for coach and obviously to go to the tournament, that was the first time in my career. To do it here, at a school like this, I mean it would be all of our dreams. I know for Coach P, back in the Big East, but he didnt think, nobody thought we could do it in this year. But you know, we came together and tried to rally. But I think it’ll be very special if we can get there, and I think we can do some damage if we get there.”

Rick Pitino on Joel Soriano:

“I also think Joel Soriano in crunch time made great defensive plays, great defensive plays. His block shots give us a big lift. In crunch time we did some really really great things. We made some defensive mistakes, but offensively we did some great things of pushing the pace and getting easy shots. A lot of times people play not to lose rather than to win, and they make turnovers and then it’s a one or two point game. But we kept offensively pressuring the basket and that’s what we like to do.

Daniss Jenkins on the pressure of winning:

“You know, you think about it, it is a thought because the facts are the facts, but at the same time you just have to go out and play. You know, we’ve been saying that all week, like even going into the DePaul game, we weren’t talking about the record, we weren’t looking at anything like that because we saw how well they played against Xavier and we knew we needed to come out and they put together a great effort to beat a team like this. Like they dont play what their record indicates, so they don’t play that way. So we just try to keep our mindset on all the things that they’re good at and we try to take it away.

Rick Pitino on Chris Ledlum:

“Without question he is playing great basketball right now. He made one bad mistake of leaving the shooter there when he picked up his dribble. Outside of that he’s been playing great, but hes played hurt for a month. Now he’s back, where he’s got his hops together, and you’re one hundred percent right. He is, when you look at this basketball team, right away you see this young man play awesome, you see DJ and the season he’s had, and you don’t think of Chris Ledlum. But he does all the tough things. It’s exciting to have Chris and Jordan playing well.

Rick Pitino on Jordan Dingle:

“Now Jordan didn’t particularly shoot the ball real well tonight but, I’m with him everyday in player development, I’ll put him against any shooter in the country. He’s a great shooter. I just wish he would move more to get more shots up, he tried to get two’s because he thought he was off. He’s such a good shooter.

Rick Pitino on key development for the season:

“DJ and Jordan weren’t real close in the beginning, they weren’t. Jordan, you have to get to know him, he’s a quiet person. But in the last month, those two have gotten very close and it made a big difference in our basketball team.”

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Isabella Athanasiou, Asst. News Editor
Isabella is a sophomore journalism student serving her first year as Assistant News Editor for The Torch. Outside of The Torch, she is a published poet and is working on a poetry collection of her own. Aside from writing, she enjoys playing guitar, listening to music and hanging out with friends. Isabella can be reached at [email protected].
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