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Georgetown dominates St. John's

The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- Georgetown had come in off two straight losses to start its Big East season, including a 28-point drubbing by Pittsburgh, marking the Hoyas' worst home defeat in 41 years.

The Hoyas entered Madison Square Garden, site of so many classic battles against rival St. John's, without its second-leading scorer and rebounder, Greg Whittington, who was suspended by the team.

But it took just a few moments for the No. 19 Hoyas to assert themselves, dominating St. John's so thoroughly from start to finish in their 67-51 victory Saturday that the Red Storm's most productive achievement on the day was lavishing praise on its opponent.

"They came out like hungry dogs," the Red Storm's Amir Garrett said, echoing remarks several St. John's players made, "and we came out flat. Definitely embarrassed. Embarrassed, angry, all those things. Because this is not how we play."

St. John's coach Steve Lavin summed up the Hoyas' quick turnaround simply.

"We got taken to the woodshed in all aspects of play. They beat us from start to finish," Lavin said of the Hoyas, who never trailed and almost never led by less than double digits. "... They basically flipped the switch. They did to us what Pittsburgh did to them. That's life in the Big East."

Otto Porter scored 19 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead Georgetown, which jumped out to a huge lead early and coasted from there. While Porter dominated inside, Markel Starks provided an outside touch, adding 17 for the Hoyas, including 2 of 3 on 3-pointers.

Jamal Branch scored 16 points to lead the Red Storm (9-7, 1-3 Big East), which dropped its second straight game, in the rare 11 a.m. matinee at the Garden.

Jakarr Sampson added 12 points for St. John's while D'Angelo Harrison, who entered the contest averaging 21.5 points per game, was held to just seven.

"You lose a couple games and suddenly you feel like you're never gonna win again," Hoyas coach John Thompson III said. "Our guys responded up and down the line. It was good. We played well."

Porter said the humbling loss at home to Pitt was especially challenging to recover from.

"It was really tough," he said. "We just had to come back and regroup for another tough game."

They did so without Whittington, who has averaged 12.1 points and seven rebounds per game. Shortly before the game, Thompson announced in a statement Whittington would not play Saturday "due to a violation of team rules." After the game, Thompson said he could not yet say whether the suspension would last beyond Saturday's game.

Georgetown (11-3, 1-2) quickly showed it did not miss Whittington, though, pouncing on the Red Storm for a 27-8 lead.

Up 13-8, Georgetown reeled off a 14-0 run, with Porter scoring four points and grabbing three rebounds during the spurt and Aaron Bowen punctuating it with a 3-pointer with 8:28 left.

St. John's finally broke its scoreless drought after more than 4 minutes when Harrison hit a jumper.

But the Red Storm got no closer than 16 the rest of the game.

"The game was over early," Lavin said. "The knockout punch was thrown early."

Georgetown took a 36-19 edge into the break, then expanded its lead to 45-22 with an 11-3 spurt to start the second half. Nate Lubick scored four points during the stretch and Porter capped it with a three-point play.

The Hoyas' lead remained in the 20-point area the rest of the game with both teams going cold for stretches and St. John's never able to mount a sustained run.

Asked if he was surprised St. John's never got back in the game, Starks hesitated, offering an awkward smile.

"They are a team that makes a lot of runs coming in, so I don't know," he said. "But we did a good job today."

Notes: Georgetown has held opponents to 60 points or fewer in 10 of its 14 games. ... Starks on his defense of Harrison, whom he guarded well and also steered into double teams: "He's a great scorer. He can put the ball in the basket. So, just try to make it more difficult for him." Harrison said he missed some easy baskets while going 3 of 12 from the field, but that the Hoyas defense "did a great job." ... St. John's fell to 1-2 against ranked opponents this season, having topped No. 14 Cincinnati on the road. ... The Red Storm shot just 35.6 percent from the field, its second straight game shooting under 40 percent. St. John's had hit for just 35.2 percent in a 58-56 loss to Rutgers on Wednesday. ... St. John's alum and former New York Mets closer John Franco attended the game and was announced to the crowd. ... St. John's hosts Notre Dame on Tuesday, back at the Garden. Georgetown hosts Providence on Wednesday.
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