Georgetown Holds Off St. John’s, 89-78
Trailing by two with just over a minute to go, St. John's saw a 3-pointer and a flurry of potential game-tying tip-ins narrowly miss their target, as Georgetown held on for an 89-78 victory at Madison Square Garden on Sunday afternoon. St. John's (15-5, 3-5 BIG EAST) had trailed by as many as 10 in the second half before making it one-possession game in the closing minutes. Shamorie Ponds eclipsed the 20-point plateau for the sixth straight game, scoring a team-high 21 points on 8-of-17 shooting to go along with six rebounds, three assists and two steals. The junior guard from Brooklyn also moved into 10thplace on the program's all time scoring chart surpassing Tony Jackson (1,603 points). Three other Johnnies finished in double figures, led by Mustapha Heron with 18 points and five rebounds in 35 minutes of action. LJ Figueroa added 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting to go along with six rebounds, four steals and three assists, while Marvin Clark II chipped in 12 points. Freshman Mac McClung, who missed the Red Storm's last outing against the Hoyas earlier this month, led Georgetown (13-7, 3-4 BIG EAST) with 25 points, five rebounds and five assists. Jessie Govan fell just short of a double-double with 20 points and nine boards. The two teams traded blows throughout the opening stanza, as the first half featured 10 ties and eight lead changes in the first 15 minutes of action. From there, the Hoyas opened up a six-point lead on three occasions down the stretch, but the Johnnies answered each time before entering the locker room with a four-point deficit at 41-37. The Red Storm led by a pair, 24-22, near the midway mark of the half before a 10-2 Georgetown run gave the Hoyas the first of those six-point edges. St. John's went 4:39 without a field goal during that stretch. The Johnnies kicked off the second half with a 5-0 spurt, as a Figueroa trey and a Heron layup allowed the Red Storm to reclaim the lead for the first time since the 8:30 mark of the opening stanza. With the game tied at 50 and four minutes gone in the period, Georgetown rattled off a 10-0 tear to take its largest lead of the game, 60-50. The Hoyas held the Red Storm off the board for nearly four minutes. After falling behind by double digits for the first time, the Red Storm cut its deficit to five on five occasions before pulling any closer, as a Sedee Keita layup on a dish from Ponds brought the Johnnies within three, 75-72, with four minutes to go. Georgetown built its lead back to six, 79-73, with two minutes to go, but two Ponds free throws, a Hoyas turnover and another Ponds bucket cut the Red Storm deficit to a pair with 1:45 to play. Still trailing by two with just over a minute remaining on the clock, Figueroa launched a triple from the left wing that rimmed out. Keita and Justin Simon each came away with a good look at a put back, but both of their tries resulted in Georgetown's favor. The Hoyas got out in transition off Simon's miss before McClung threw down a dunk, starting a game-ending stretch that saw Georgetown balloon its lead to 11. The Red Storm will play its next three contests on the road, two of which will come against opponents currently ranked in the top 12 of the Associated Press Top 25 Poll. The Johnnies begin their trip at Creighton on Wednesday night before traveling to No. 2 Duke on Saturday and No. 12 Marquette the following Tuesday.