Photo courtesy of St. John’s University Athletics.
By David Cordova
Every year in March, there’s one big event in college basketball that is held with a lot of reverence and it’s the one before the NCAA Tournament. The tournament in question is named, the Big East Tournament and it is now in its 35th year of existence at Madison Square Garden.
This major event has been one that has had a lot of moments and there is bound to be more. One game which may be considered as a classic in the future could the one in the storied rivalry of Georgetown and St. John’s.
The two programs, who have been rivals since the 1980’s and have made for many epic match ups in the past, were both experiencing dismal seasons this year. But in this first-round matchup, both teams would forget all of their misfortunes and start over at 0-0 in the new season, the playoffs, as the adage, “Win or Go Home,” proved to be prevalent in this game. One team would definitely win, while the other simply, just went home.
St. John’s 74, Georgetown 73
In the beginning of the game, both teams were neck and neck from the opening tip. But Georgetown’s Marcus Derrickson helped the Hoyas get ahead with two baskets to bring them an 13-9 lead, with 15:40 to go. Moments later, Rodney Pryor would hit a three-pointer to give the Hoyas an 18-9 lead with 13:33 to go.
The Red Storm could not get shots off efficiently, which contributed to the Hoyas’ offensive attack in the early stages of the game. But they would get five straight points from both Bashir Ahmed and Marcus LoVett to cut the deficit to two, 19-17, with 11:25 to go in the half.
From there, both teams would trade baskets, but then Shamorie Ponds’ three-pointer would tie the game at 28-28 with 4:41 to go. But then they would turn things around and end up leading by four at halftime, 38-34.
In the second half, the Red Storm would start to play better, as they led by four, 45-41, with 17:56 to go, after a three-pointer by Frederico Mussini. Then their efficient ball movement would bring them ahead, 51-43, with 14:45 to go. But moments later, the Hoyas woudl go on an 8-2 run to cut their deficit to 53-51 with 11:32 to go. Then L.J. Peak would tie the game at 54-54 with a layup with 10:15 on the clock.
Following what was perceived to be a scuffle, St. John’s would raise their momentum, taking a six-point lead, 62-56, on a three-pointer by Ponds. But once again, Georgetown would take advantage of the Red Storm defense, cutting the deficit to one, 64-63, on a layup by Peak with 5:53 left.
Then the Red Storm would take another six-point lead, 74-68, with 3:03 left after a layup by Darien Williams. But turnovers would once again plague them, as Georgetown would get within two, 74-72, with 1:29 left in the game. Georgetown would get a couple of final chances at taking the lead, but they could not convert their layups, as St. John’s would advance to the next round of the tournament against the No. 1 seeded Villanova, the defending national champions.
Ponds led St. John’s with 17 points and five rebounds and Ahmed added 14 points of his own. For Georgetown, Peak led with 24 points and Pryor added 17 points and five rebounds in the loss.