Red hot Hoyas hang one on Johnnies

Norm Roberts believed two things needed to be done to contain Georgetown’s Princeton-style offense: limit its back door layups and hope they don’t shoot a high percentage.


The Hoyas’ Darrel Owens made sure the latter didn’t happen.


He scored a game-high 24 points and shot 6-for-8 from behind the arc. The sophomore forward’s touch sparked a ferocious second half run that lifted Georgetown over St. John’s, 79-65, Sunday night at Madison Square Garden.


“Owen’s got into rhythm,” Roberts said. “On three or four occasions there was a hand in the face. He canned them.”


Owens, who was averaging just eight points coming into the game, and St. John’s bitter conference rivals connected on a season-high 12 three-pointers and shot a blistering 58 percent from the field. Guard Brandon Bowman (16 points) also had four 3-pointers. In the first half, the duo combined for four consecutive threes.


“We played them here last year and we got the exact same shots, but we missed,” Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. “Tonight it went in.”


The Hoyas shot just 4-21 from behind the arc in last season’s 76-67 loss.


But on this night, St. John’s (7-6, 0-2) battled back and forth with Georgetown (10-2, 2-0) for the first 30 minutes of the game, but the last 10 minutes, like at Seton Hall on Wednesday, were abysmal. While St. John’s did not blow another 20-point lead, it did experience another scoring drought and game-changing run by its opponents.


Cedric Jackson connected with Ryan Williams for a two handed ally-oop slam that got St. John’s to 55-54 with 11:44 left. But over the next seven minutes, Georgetown’s defense forced St. John’s into turnover after turnover, sparking a 16-0 run that was capped by two consecutive 3-pointers from Owens. It gave the Hoyas a 71-54 lead with 4:32 remaining.


“We turned it over some ill-advised times which led to baskets for them, so they didn’t have to earn those baskets,” said Roberts.


St. John’s received another strong game from Aaron Spears. The 6-foot-10 junior forward along with freshman guard Anthony Mason led the team with 14 points apiece, both on 6-for-8 shooting.


But nine of Spears’ points came in the first half. He tied the game at 46-46 with 15:18 left in the game when he stole the ball and drove down court for a one-handed slam. But he would not score again as the Hoyas tightened their interior defense.


The St. John’s defense, which has limited opponents to 36.2-percent shooting from the field, saw the Hoyas shoot over 62.2 percent from behind the arc in the second half and 57 percent from the field for the game. Many of the baskets came in the last 10 seconds of the shot clock.


“I don’t think it’s demoralizing,” Eugene Lawrence said. “We thought about it too much. We would play good defense and they hit a shot over us, and on offense we were probably still thinking about that shot.”


Many of those baskets came out of the hands of Owens.


“Darrel can do that,” Thompson said, “That is not necessarily abnormal. The kid can shoot.”




St. John’s played its fourth straight game without injured guard Daryll Hill. Hill is still day-to-day √¢?” with a roughening of the hyaline cartilage in the left knee √¢?” and will not return to the lineup until he is fully healthy.


“I know he wants to get back,” Roberts said. “But we want him to be totally comfortable when he comes back. When he comes back, we want him to be able to stay. Not something where he’s in and he’s out, he’s in and he’s out.”