A pair of losses to St. John’s in March contributed to Georgetown’s collapse in 2008-09. Opening Big East play against the Red Storm gives the Hoyas a chance to erase any bad memories from those defeats.
The 13th-ranked Hoyas look to exact a measure of revenge when they host St. John’s on Thursday night.
Georgetown was ranked as high as No. 9 in the country last season but would lose 12 of its last 16, falling twice to St. John’s in its last four games. The Red Storm had only two other wins in their final 13 games of the season.
St. John’s defeated the Hoyas 59-56 in overtime March 3 and beat them 64-59 seven days later in the first round of the Big East tournament. Georgetown had won the previous five meetings.
This season, Georgetown has jumped out to a 9-1 start while St. John’s has opened 10-2, with one of those losses coming at then-No. 6 Duke on Dec. 5.
The Hoyas won their first eight before falling 61-57 to Old Dominion on Dec. 19. They rebounded by beating Harvard 86-70 last Wednesday, getting a career-high 34 points from Chris Wright and 16 points and 16 rebounds from Greg Monroe.
Wright, a 6-foot-1 junior guard, shot 13 for 21 and had six rebounds, four assists and a career-best six steals. He scored 21 of his points in the second half.
“I don’t even think I was looking for my shot today. I just think I was being aggressive and trying to make plays,” Wright said. “I don’t think I was really trying to force anything. I was just playing in the flow of the game. I got opportunities today, and luckily I capitalized on them.”
Junior guard Austin Freeman matched his career best with 21 points and is one of four players averaging at least 11.1 points for Georgetown. Monroe leads the way with 15.3 per game while Wright is scoring 13.9 a contest.
The Red Storm’s top scorer is junior swingman D.J. Kennedy, averaging 16.7 points. He had a game-high 18 last Wednesday in an 80-44 win over winless Bryant of the Northeast Conference.
St. John’s is hoping Paris Horne continues his recent strong play after a dismal beginning to the season. The junior guard is averaging 9.0 points and shooting 40.4 percent from the field after leading the team with 14.6 points per game - 16.4 in conference play - in 2008-09.
Horne scored a season-high 16 against Bryant and is averaging 11.5 points over his last four games after going six straight without reaching double figures. He’s 9 for 15 from 3-point range in the last three.
“It feels good. I knew it would happen sooner or later,” said Horne, who averaged 19.5 points in last season’s wins over Georgetown. “I just stayed with it, stayed in the gym and just kept shooting. That’s all.”
The Hoyas have won their last seven conference openers while St. John’s has dropped five of its past six. The Red Storm have lost four in a row at Georgetown since Jan. 18, 2003.