Starting its five freshman "Fresh Five" lineup for the fifth time this year and playing against its 10th ranked opponent of the season on Sunday, St. John's trailed by just two points midway through the second half before Georgetown used some late 3-pointers to defeat the Red Storm, 71-61, at the Verizon Center.
D'Angelo Harrison poured in a game-high 24 points to notch his ninth-career 20-point game and fifth in the past seven contests. Moe Harkless also reached 20 points for the fifth time in his career, chipping in 20 points and six boards to help pace St. John's (10-15, 4-9).
"What was really good this afternoon was the way our guys played all the way through," said assistant coach Mike Dunlap. "We struggled on the boards and missed some open looks, but we took good care of the ball, we got to the free throw line and we played our style of basketball."
The loss to the Hoyas was much more encouraging than the effort at Madison Square Garden last Wednesday night, when the Red Storm loss to Cincinnati 76-54.
“We've got to stick together,'' said Harkless, who had tipped in the game-winning basket in the Red Storm’s January 7th road win over the Bearcats. “We did not come out with a good enough defensive effort and that affected our offense.''
Cincinnati entered the game third in the conference in points allowed (60.4) and that number went down as the Bearcats held the Red Storm to 32.8 percent shooting (19-for-58) for the game. The Bearcats shot 51.7 percent (31-of-60), including going 7-of-16 from 3-point range.
“The fact of the matter is we have played with more certainty at times this season,” said Dunlap. “Rebounding is an effort stat. It just wasn't right tonight for whatever reason. We were flat. That's on me.”
Before the game, St. John's announced that junior guard Malik Stith was leaving the basketball team for personal reasons, but he will stay with the program in some capacity and will pursue his degree. Stith's departure leaves St. John's with a six-man rotation, all first-year players in the program.