WASHINGTON, DC -- St. John's suffered their second tough loss to Georgetown in twelve days, this one in double overtime, 93-89, Saturday afternoon at Capital One Arena.
The Red Storm is now 0-8 in Big East play, and their record overall is now 10-10. They have gone a month without winning a game, their last victory coming at Mohegan Sun on December 20 against Saint Joseph's, and it does not get any easier with Creighton on deck Tuesday night at Carnesecca Arena in an 8:30 p.m. tipoff.
Shamorie Ponds had another big night, his second 30-point effort in the last three games, as he led the way with 33 points on 12-of-23 shooting from the field and 3-of-7 from behind the arc, to go along with eight assists, six rebounds and three steals. Tariq Owens netted 17 points on 8-of-14 shooting, and had three blocks to add to his Big East-leading total, as well as seven rebounds. Marvin Clark II tallied 15 points (4-for-10 FG, 3-for-8 on three-pointers) and four rebounds. Bashir Ahmed had 11 points and six rebounds. Georgetown was led by Marcus Derrickson, who had 27 points on 9-of-23 shooting from the field and 8-of-12 from the free throw line, with 11 rebounds and two assists. Jamorko Pickett and Jessie Govan had 16 points apiece, with Pickett notching nine rebounds and four assists, as Govan tallied eight boards of his own.
Just as it was when the teams met at Madison Square Garden on January 9, this one was even from the start, with the score tied at 15 with eight minutes remaining in the first half. At that time, St. John's went on a 9-2 run, climbing ahead by seven, 24-17, three minutes later, as Clark connected on a pair of threes to pace the Red Storm during the tear. The Hoyas quickly responded with seven unanswered of their own, knotting the contest at 24 at the 3:54 mark of the opening stanza. Following a Ponds layup, Jonathan Mulmore knocked down a three for the Hoyas, giving them a 27-26 lead, its first in nearly eight minutes. St. John's rallied to take a 30-29 at halftime, and started the second half with a 6-0 spurt to move ahead by five, 35-30.
After Georgetown responded with a 7-0 run, the Red Storm scored eight in a row and then followed with an 11-2 run, moving ahead by seven, 46-39, on a Ponds three from the corner with 13:30 to play. Owens scored the first six points on the run, converting on a pair of tough layups inside before draining a baseline jumper.
Leading by five, 54-49, with just over nine minutes to go in the game, St. John’s saw Georgetown unleash an 8-2 run, reclaiming the lead, 57-56, less than four minutes later. After trailing by as many as five, 63-58, the Red Storm tied the game at 65 on a 3-pointer from Clark with 1:52 remaining, capping a 7-2 run for the Johnnies. Ponds scored the other four points for the Red Storm during that stretch.
Following three free throws from freshman Jahvon Blair, the Johnnies stared down a three-point deficit, 68-65, with 1:33 remaining. After an empty possession and a stop on the defensive end, the Red Storm earned two points the hard way, grabbing two offensive boards before Ahmed buried one home to pull within one, 68-67, with 28 seconds to go. After Govan split a pair of free throws, Ponds drove to the basket and sent a home an acrobatic layup through traffic, knotting the contest at 69. The Hoyas had another shot to win in regulation, but the Johnnies came up with the stop and the game went to overtime.
The Red Storm appeared to have victory in their hands toward the end of the first overtime, but let a five-point lead slip away in the final 24 seconds. Derrickson closed the frame on a personal 6-1 run, including a clutch three with just three seconds on the clock to knot the contest at 79. The Hoyas controlled the second overtime from the start, scoring the first six points of the period, including a four-point play from Jagan Mosely.
Head coach Chris Mullin said of St. John's continuing to struggle down the stretch in close games, “This was as extreme as it gets. We fouled a three-point shooter, then we went to the line with a chance to go up four, and then the next three he [Derrickson] made, I don’t know what to say about that.”
Mullin said to the question of whether or not to foul Derrickson on the tying three in overtime, “Ideally, yes. Not coming out of a timeout, it’s kind of hard to get these guys’ attention on the way up, but ideally yeah. I love to foul in that situation. Once that guy gets behind that three, on the way up the court ideally, but again sometimes it’s hard to relay that message not coming out of a timeout. Philosophically, yeah I like to foul in that situation. No question. Do you do it earlier? Yes. What happens after that, who knows, but philosophically that’s what I like to do. We couldn’t get the message over there coming off the free throw. He just made a highly-contested shot.”
On the defensive plan on Derrickson, Mullin said, “We tried to battle him in the post. [Marcus] and [Jessie Govan] are really good in the post. We tried to fight him off the post, and apply help when needed. They made some big plays. Our guys for the whole night battled pretty well. Tough ending for us.”
Mullin said of Georgetown running a lot of offense through Jahvon Blair, “He gets a lot of shots. He’s got the second-most field goal attempts on the team, so that’s the guy they go to. He made some threes tonight.”
On whether it is tougher to be optimistic as the losing streak grows, Mullin said, “Right now, for sure. Right after this tough loss, it stings. Again, some things we can clean up. It’s a test, it’s definitely a test. We've got to keep battling, work through it, believe in each other, keep the faith, stay diligent, and we’ll get there.”
Mullin said of whether the team is staying cohesive during the tough stretch, “Yeah. Again, right after the game it stings. It’s tough. We’ll regroup, look at the tape, analyze it with a clean mind, and then move onto the next game.”
Mullin said of Georgetown, who is 13-6 overall and 3-5 in the Big East, “They are in good shape. They have two big guys who are really good. They have some young guards coming along. They play a good style. If they can bang threes like that, they’ll be in good shape.”