Sunday night will be the biggest football game of the year on CBS but at 4pm on Saturday there will be the biggest game of the season for the St. John’s Red Storm so far on CBS. The nationally televised game will feature two streaking teams, the Red Storm who have rattled off five straight and the Hoyas of Georgetown who have won three straight and four of five since last meeting with the Johnnies.
That last meeting with the Johnnies will be on every players mind as they step on the court Saturday afternoon. An early 11am start time at Madison Square Garden was not very friendly for the Red Storm who took a 67-51 spanking. The Hoyas led at the half, 36-19 thanks to some hot shooting out of the gate and a great game from Otto Porter, who had been struggling.
The team knows it has its work cut out for them but they welcome the rematch with the Hoyas.
“Of course we were looking forward to it. They beat us pretty bad, and we all kept that in mind as a team,” said Amir Garrett. “We’re very focused on Georgetown right now. That loss left a sour taste in our mouth, and we kept that bottled up inside us.”
Date: Saturday, February 2nd, 2013
Location: Verizon Center- Washington. DC
Time: 4:00 PM EST
TV: CBS (Ian Eagle, Clark Kellog)
Radio: WBBR 1130 AM (John Minko)
Georgetown Hoyas (15-4, 5-3)
Head Coach: John Thompson III
Again for the Hoyas the man to watch is Otto Porter. The forward is averaging 15 points per game and 7.7 rebounds. Porter has five double-doubles so far this season while shooting 51.3% from the field. In their first game against the Red Storm Porter put up a huge game racking up 19 points and 14 rebounds. Porter was recently named to the Big East Weekly Honor Roll and has Georgetown surging at the right time.
With a little over a month left in the regular season the Hoyas seem to have put their scoring woes behind them. In the three game win streak they are averaging 67 points. A stark contrast to the team that won a game against Tennessee in November by a final score of 37-36.
Markel Stars is a player to watch in the front court for the Hoyas as he is currently third on the team in scoring with 11.8 points and 2.7 assists per game. Starks scored and tied a career high 17 points last game against Seton Hall, which matches his output against St. John’s the first time when he had 17 points on 7-13 shooting. Starks will have a tough matchup with the Red Storm’s Jamal Branch.
Projected Starting Lineup:
F Otto Porter
F Nate Lubick
F Mikael Hopkins
G Markel Starks
G Jabril Trawick
St. John’s (14-7, 6-3)
Head Coach: Steve Lavin
It wasn’t supposed to be that close but the Red Storm pulled out an overtime victory at home against DePaul on Wednesday. The gritty win came after high scorer for the game and go to man D’Angelo Harrison fouled out with 3+ minutes left on the clock in regulation. The team finished the last almost nine minutes without him and luckily was able to pick up the much needed win to keep their postseason hopes alive.
Sir’Dominic Pointer has shown a true leadership quality during the five game win streak that cannot accurately be praised enough. Pointer finished with 11 points and 12 rebounds, two blocks and a steal in 30 minutes to help wrap up the game. Pointer scored on 4-5 from the field including a three pointer from the corner that he has now hit in two straight games. Pointer’s improvement over the course of the year has been huge for the young Johnnies squad.
But even during the midst of a win streak, the coach always believe the team could be doing better.
“We’re clearly making progress and playing better basketball then when we last played Georgetown, but there are still a number of areas we need to continue to improve upon,” said head coach Steve Lavin. ”Rebounding and free throw shooting are probably the two areas, between now and the end of the season; that we need to keep making progress.”
Projected Starting Lineup:
F JaKarr Sampson
F Sir’Dominic Pointer
G Jamal Branch
G Phil Greene
G D’Angelo Harrison
Keys to Victory
• Free Throws- This Red Storm team can play Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde so far this season when it comes to free throws. Against DePaul the Storm almost gave the game away at the line like they did against Rutgers at the Garden. The Red Storm shot 17-27 from the line, including 3-8 from JaKarr Sampson and 1-4 from Chris Obekpa.
• Rebounding- Rebounding was a problem again when the Red Storm took on DePaul, crashing the boards seemed optional as they got out rebounded 52-39 while DePaul racked up 21 offensive rebounds. Cleaning the glass is a most important part of the game of basketball and despite 12 from Pointer and eight from Sampson this team is still not doing enough.
• Stay out of foul trouble– It’s one thing to be in foul trouble against a team like DePaul, as it will be hard enough to come back against a scrappy team. But the Red Storm can not afford to lose D’Angelo Harrison to a foul out against the elite teams of the league. It will be imperative for Harrison and everyone else not to pick up tick tack fouls.
• + Turnover margin- The Red Storm against DePaul was +8 in turnover margin against DePaul which included only two from their guard position. Phil Greene was perfect in 43 minutes and Jamal Branch picked the pocket of the DePaul guards six times. The Johnnies have been very good at this all season and with the new three guard lineup it is imperative for them to be as crisp as usual.
Final Prediction: Georgetown Wins, 64-58