This afternoon, St. John’s has a great chance to finally pick up a Big East win when they take on the Georgetown Hoyas in Washington D.C.
Since Big East play began, St. John’s has continued to fight in all of their games, but just can’t seem to get on the winning side. This afternoon, they arguably have their best chance in quite some time to finally pick up their first regular season conference win since February 25, 2016.
On that day, their opponent is the same opponent they will go up against today: the Georgetown Hoyas (12-6, 2-5 Big East). But, the venue is different as they will be playing at the Capital One Arena. You can watch the game at 12 p.m ET on Fox Sports 1.
Georgetown won the first matchup between these two teams at Madison Square Garden on January 9, 69-66. Since that game, Patrick Ewing’s squad has lost its last two games against No. 13 Seton Hall and No. 1 Villanova by double digits. On Wednesday, they were blown out by ‘Nova at home, 88-56.
While Georgetown did have a significant edge on the boards in that game against the Red Storm (49-34), it was actually St. John’s who did a better job at getting points in the paint (32-16) because they were attacking the rim when the three-point shots were falling.
One of the things that we saw in the Xavier loss from St. John’s was the breakout performance on offense from Justin Simon. The sophomore guard had 28 points after only scoring seven points in the prior game against Villanova. Back on January 9, he had 16 points against the Hoyas, but 12 of those points came in the second half.
If Simon can be that secondary offense to Shamorie Ponds, then that should give St. John’s enough offense to win this game. Since Bashir Ahmed has struggled the last three games (17 combined points), Simon’s offense is needed along with his rebounding and his steals on the defensive end of the floor.
Moving over to the Georgetown side, Jessie Govan is going to be the main player to focus on. The junior center had a double-double in the first matchup against St. John’s (18 points, 13 rebounds) and made the game-winning three with 25 seconds left. He has struggled of late, as has made only 10 of his last 29 shots in the last two games.
When you look back at that first matchup, both teams had massive struggles on offense. There were many missed layups and the two teams had a combined 36 turnovers. If St. John’s can force turnovers with their guards and get another great performance from Tariq Owens down low, they have a chance to win this game.
As far as X Factors go in this game, keep an eye on Marvin Clark II for St. John’s. Clark II had 15 points against No. 11 Xavier on Wednesday and has scored in double figures in four of his last five games. Plus, he is one of the Red Storm’s more reliable three-point shooters this season (44 percent).
On the Georgetown side, they have more depth to work with than St. John’s does. In that first matchup, they got 23 points from their bench, including 13 from sophomore guard Jagan Mosely. Those 13 points were the most he scored in a game since December 16 against Syracuse (20).
Right now, this is arguably the best chance for St. John’s to get a win in the Big East for quite some time. Three of their next five opponents are top 15 teams (Xavier, Duke, and Villanova). Plus, they also host a good Creighton team and they have to go on the road to play Butler.
Now that the hype between Ewing and Chris Mullin is mostly out of the way after the first matchup, both teams will look to snap their losing streaks. If St. John’s continues to show good fight on the road like they have this year in the Big East, they have a good chance to finally snag that first conference win.