The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Sweet, sweet revenge

With two seconds remaining in regulation of St. John’s 59-56 overtime win against Georgetown Tuesday night, Rob Thomas lined up for two of the biggest free throws of his life.

One year after losing to the Hoyas by 32 points, the program’s worst-ever deficit in Big East play, the Red Storm overcame a 15-point deficit midway through the second half to pull within two points.

Thomas hit both free throws, sending the game into overtime.
“It was crazy,” Thomas said. “I had a lot of stuff running through my mind. I took my time and knocked them down.”

Thomas established a new career-high with 16 points on 5-10 shooting, including a perfect 6-6 from the free throw line.

“I think it’s great,” Paris Horne said of his teammate. “It’s not like we didn’t see this before. We knew Rob had it in him and had the potential to do it. It all played out today.”

St. John’s sparked its comeback with strong team defense and a rounded offense, cutting the lead to six with 3:26 remaining, and for the first time in a while, favorable cheers were heard when St. John’s grabbed a rebound. Chants of ‘de-fense’ were coming from areas outside the student section.

An acrobatic layup by Horne with just under three minutes remaining shocked the Hoyas, cutting the lead back to five and elevating the chants. Horne hit a three with 1:44 remaining to bring the Red Storm within two, as Georgetown called a timeout to regroup.

“It’s a great win,” Horne said. “Especially with what happened last year, them coming in and crushing us here – it was in the back of all of our minds.”

The upset loss, however, didn’t feel like an upset to Georgetown head coach John Thompson III.

“There are no upsets in league play,” Thompson said. “We go into every game knowing if we don’t do what we should do and how we should do it, we can lose. This is not an upset, especially not this year, in this conference, with this team.”

The comeback started well before it was even needed.
The St. John’s offense looked to establish dominance in the paint early in the first half, getting the ball in the low post and pushing around the Georgetown big men as often as possible.

The Red Storm scored 14 points in the paint in the first half, and outrebounded Georgetown 18-11. Collectively, St. John’s outrebounded the Hoyas 46-25 for the game.

“They did a better job of pursuing the ball than we did,” Thompson said. That can’t happen. The disparity can’t be that big for us to win.”

Georgetown’s lack of free throw shooting haunted them in the second half, going just 9-16 from the line and easing the gap for St. John’s late in the game.

“I don’t know [how to explain it],” Thompson said. “The ball just didn’t go into the basket down the stretch.”

In the wake of last week’s 29-point loss to Syracuse, as well as Saturday’s road win at DePaul, St. John’s head coach Norm Roberts was pleased with the win, calling it a more satisfying victory than the Red Storm’s Jan. 3 win against Notre Dame.

“It’s great for our guys, our guys feel we have a lot to play for,” Roberts said. “Coming into the Big East Tournament, anybody can win. You want to be playing well at the end of the year going into the tournament.”

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