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The Journal Gazette

  • Georgetown's Jabril Trawick dunks during the first half NCAA college basketball game against St. John's, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Saturday, January 12, 2013 2:41 pm

No. 19 Georgetown beats St. John's 67-51 at MSG

By JIM O'CONNELLAP Basketball Writer

St. John's had one of those days, one of those days you want to forget in a hurry.

The Red Storm dropped their third straight game, 67-51 to No. 19 Georgetown on Saturday at Madison Square Garden. It was a game they were never in.

The Hoyas opened a 23-point lead in the first half on their way to snap a two-game losing streak. There wasn't a facet that Georgetown didn't thoroughly outplay St. John's.

"We knew Georgetown was going to come with a different mindset because of what happened to them in their last game," said JaKarr Sampson, who had 12 points for St. John's. "We didn't have the same mindset and that's what most disappointing to us. We knew they were going to come out fighting and we didn't."

The Hoyas played their usual strong defense but the Red Storm made it look even better with a terrible offensive performance.

"They flipped the story," St. John's coach Steve Lavin said. "They did to us what Pittsburgh did to them. That's life in the Big East."

The Hoyas had scored 48 points in their two defeats. The second was a 73-48 loss to Pittsburgh, their worst defeat at home in 40 years.

"You lose a couple of games and sometimes you feel like you're never going to win another game," Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. "Our guys responded today up and down the line. We had energy, enthusiasm, communication with each other. We played well, It was fun."

Otto Porter had 19 points and a season-high 14 rebounds, and Martel Starks had 17 points for the Hoyas (11-3, 1-2 Big East), who certainly didn't look like a 48-point team. There was plenty of offense from them in this game as they continued their great defense in taking a 36-19 halftime lead after being up by 33-10.

Georgetown reached 48 points with 13:36 to play, taking a 21-point lead. The Hoyas' biggest lead of the game was 26 points.

"The last game we were terrible in every facet of basketball, not just scoring," Thompson said. "But we worked on our offense and stressed a few things and saw a few things we had to adjust and we did OK today."

The Hoyas, who came in allowing 55.7 points per game and shooting 38.7 percent from the field, improved those numbers with the suffocating defense they have played all season. They outrebounded St. John's 48-33.

"We just played defense. No tricks. No gimmicks," Starks said. "You have your teammates' back. The things we've emphasized from day one. We're a good defensive team but we have to keep getting better."

Jamal Branch had 16 points for the Red Storm (9-7, 1-3), who have lost three straight and four of five. The lone win was at then-No. 14 Cincinnati.

For the second straight game, St. John's hurt itself at the free-throw line. The Red Storm went 15 of 27 at the line this week in a two-point loss to Rutgers. On Saturday, they were 6 of 16.

"We're very embarrassed but we have to get back to work," Sir'Dominic Pointer of St. John's said. "Notre Dame is right around the corner, and we can't dwell on it. This is a bad loss for us, but we have to snap back quick."

St. John's missed 13 of its 16 3-point attempts, with the three makes coming in the final 2:09. The Red Storm came in shooting 32.4 percent from beyond the arc, 11th in the Big East.

"It was a dominating performance by Georgetown," Lavin said. "We got taken to the woodshed in all aspects of play. They beat us to the punch from start to finish. It's not that complicated. It's simple."

Georgetown played without sophomore forward Greg Whittington, who missed the game for a violation of team rules. No details were provided.

The 6-foot-8 Whittington had started all 13 games and is second on the team in scoring (12.1) and rebounding (7.0).

"Certain people had to step up to carry the load," Porter said. "It's a team effort."

When Thompson was asked whether Whittington would be back for the next game he said, "I can't tell you right now."

Georgetown avoided its first 0-3 start in the conference since 1998-99.

It was the Hoyas' fourth straight win in the series and the 10th in the last 13 games. The teams play again Feb. 2 in Washington.

It was the fewest points St. John's scored in a half this season and it was the biggest halftime deficit the Red Storm faced this season.

Chris Obekpa's six blocks gave him 82 for the season, breaking a tie with Walter Berry for the St. John's season record of 76.