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January 31, 2008
NEW YORK (AP) Georgetown and St. John's are two of the foundation programs of the Big East Conference. They are about as far apart as two teams can get right now whether it's on the scoreboard or in the standings.
The sixth-ranked Hoyas handed St. John's its worst Big East loss ever Wednesday night. Their 74-42 victory looked like a first-place team giving a lesson to a team that is tied for last place.
"They're a Big East team and this conference is tough," Georgetown's Jessie Sapp said. "I was surprised at the score but at the same time I was happy."
Sophomore reserve Vernon Macklin scored a career-high 18 points for the Hoyas (17-2, 7-1) who entered the game leading the nation in field-goal percentage defense (35.8) and they were fifth in points allowed (57.5).
Their defensive effort wasn't the reason for this blowout.
St. John's (7-12, 1-7) had its worst shooting game in a season where it ranks next-to-last in the 16-team Big East at 42.2 percent. The Red Storm finished 10-for-47 from the field (21.3 percent) in losing their sixth straight overall and eighth in their past nine games.
"We didn't play very well tonight and that's my fault, all my fault," fourth-year St. John's coach Norm Roberts said. "We'll play harder and get better from here. We're young but that's no excuse. We can be tougher. This league is good but you've got to make shots and make plays and not give teams open looks."
St. John's previous worst conference loss was also to the Hoyas, 72-42 on Jan. 6, 1982, also at Madison Square Garden.
"It was one of those days that happen to all of us," said Georgetown coach John Thompson III, whose father was coaching the Hoyas 26 years ago. "I think our guys were extremely attentive in terms of helping each other and understanding what we were trying to accomplish."
Roy Hibbert added 11 points and Sapp had 10 for the Hoyas, who shot 52.8 percent (28-for-53) led by Macklin's 8-for-10. Macklin's previous career high was 10 in a loss at Pittsburgh on Jan. 14.
"He put points on the board and that became big when we found out this morning DaJuan wouldn't play," Thompson said, referring to starting forward DaJuan Summers who was kept out of the game after tweaking his left ankle in Saturday's win over West Virginia. "Our coaching staff and his teammates are comfortable with Vernon being out there. What he did today was not a surprise to us."
Georgetown led 41-14 after a first half that wasn't that close. The Hoyas could have really poured it on except for a 6-for-13 effort from the free-throw line that included Jonathan Wallace going 5-for-6.
It took the Red Storm 15:27 to get their first field goal. They missed their first 11 shots - and committed 12 turnovers - before Burrell's bank shot cut Georgetown's lead to 31-7.
St. John's finished the half shooting 12.5 percent (2-for-16) led by Burrell's 2-for-2. And in what would have been the cruelest of ironies after the 20 minutes the Red Storm had struggling from the field, Malik Boothe's shot from just beyond halfcourt went in and out as the buzzer sounded.
The Hoyas opened the second half on a 12-0 run but the Red Storm managed their first goal a lot quicker than they did in the opening 20 minutes. Boothe's layup 5:34 into the half brought St. John's within 53-16. The Red Storm missed their first seven shots of the second half.
The biggest lead was 53-14 on a dunk by Patrick Ewing Jr. with 15 minutes to play.
"That was probably the worst feeling of my life," Boothe said when asked what he thought when he looked up and saw his team trailing 27-3. "We have to go into the next game thinking, no knowing, we're going to win."
Mike Cavataio made two free throws with 6 seconds left to get St. John's within 29, but Bryon Jansen banked in a 3 at the buzzer to make it the Red Storm's worst conference loss.
This was Georgetown's fourth straight win in the series and the sixth in the past eight meetings. The Hoyas broke a tie in the Big East matchups between the two and they lead 28-27.
The last time St. John's failed to score 40 points in a game was a 52-32 loss at Villanova on Feb. 13, 1963.
Mason was coming off consecutive 29-point games in losses to No. 18 Pittsburgh and Louisville.
"You don't ever go into a game to lose," Mason said. "Georgetown is a good defensive team the way they switch and step up on ball screens."
Then his voice trailed off, "it's us."