February 29, 2008

Hoyas dispatch plucky SJU

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February 28, 2008 - Last night Georgetown overcame a sluggish first half, replete with uncharacteristically allowing an opponent to shoot 45% from the field, to down the St. Johns Red Story 64-52 at the Verizon Center (Until this game, G'Town led the Big East in both field goal percentage and scoring defense, at 36% and 57.3 points respectively).

The win has moved the Hoyas, coached by John Thompson III to 23-4 on the season and 13-3 in the Big East, while Norm Roberts and his St. Johns squad are now 10-17 overall and 4-11 in league play.

The last time these two teams met, G'Town pummeled the Johnnies 74-42, on January 30th in Madison Square Garden, a victory that saw the Hoyas earn a 27 point lead at intermission. This time around, Thompson's crew would only distance themselves over roughly a nine minute, second half stretch, outscoring their opponents from Queens, New York, 17-5.

Thompson harbored no expectation either team would duplicate its previous performance, stating in his post game presser "the stars aligned themselves properly that night", while also refusing to attribute his team's slow start to overconfidence, as the Hoyas are well aware of the talent St. Johns boasts.

Roberts also knew his team would not take a beating similar to before, as "We didn't make any shots, Georgetown made every shot that night". This time around, he conceded "We made plays".

That they did, a point shared by Thompson, who noted the Hoyas not only missed buckets but let those miscues impact their defensive performance.

Though sophomore DaJuan Summers led all scorers with 21 points, offensively it was a focus on senior Roy Hibbert that allowed Georgetown to distance themselves from St. Johns: The Georgetown staff demanded at intermission Hibbert become more assertive and that his teammates find him, which they did, as during the second stanza Roy scored 13 of his 17 points.

"We told Roy at halftime 'Let's be more aggressive. Get open'" shared Thompson of the strategy talk, a recollection in which Hibbert would later cosign. The seven-foot-two inch pivot man obliged despite the physical play of St. Johns, frequently bulling his way into the lane for scores or foul shots.

St. Johns was led by junior Anthony Mason, Jr. (12 points) and freshman Justin Burrell, both of who played physically, but it was mammoth freshman center Dele Coker that led his team in terms of banging down low.

"Give Georgetown credit. Coach Thompson does a great job with them" said a subdued Roberts. "They had guys step up…Summers really shot the ball well…Hibbert did a good job of making himself big in the lane".

Both will have to do so again Saturday, when the Hoyas travel to Marquette and play a Golden Eagle squad that not only is enjoying a 5-0 winning streak, but is 14-1 at home.

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