February 28, 2008

Georgetown Gets by Johnnies

WASHINGTON (AP) The dunks weren't falling for DaJuan Summers, but the 3-pointers were.

Summers was 5-of-8 on 3-pointers and scored 21 points in No. 11 Georgetown's 64-52 win against St. John's.

Yet all the questions after the game were about two close shots he missed. Specifically, first-half dunks.

Less than eight minutes into the game, Summers was on a fast break and tried to throw down a dunk. Instead, the ball bounced off the back of the rim into the courtside seats. A few minutes later, Summers had the ball on the baseline and went up for a dunk that again missed the mark.

``It happens sometimes. You can't dwell on it,'' Summers said. ``If I was worried about the dunks, I probably would have taken myself out of the game completely.''

Summers had trouble with the slams, but his 3-point shooting helped Georgetown to a win in a game that was closer than expected until late in the second half.

``The first half was one of those halves, we missed a bunch of easy chippies,'' Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. ``If those shots go in you feel a lot better at halftime. And it happens sometimes when you get frustrated on offense, you're not as attentive on defense.''

With the win, Georgetown (23-4, 13-3 Big East) moved a half-game ahead of Louisville for sole possession of first place in the Big East. The lead may be short-lived: Louisville plays third-place Notre Dame on Thursday night.

The Hoyas improved to 15-0 at home this season with their fifth-straight win against St. John's (10-17, 4-11).

When these two teams met in New York on Jan. 30, Georgetown led by 27 points at halftime and ended up with a 74-42 win. This time, Georgetown held a narrow 27-23 lead at halftime, and the lead evaporated early in the second half.

St. John's zone defense and a lack of inside presence from senior center Roy Hibbert kept Georgetown's offense out of rhythm until late. Hibbert, who finished with 17 points, was held to four points in the first half.

``We felt we could slow them down a little bit by playing zone,'' St. John's coach Norm Roberts said. ``And it worked for a little while.''

Anthony Mason Jr., who led St. John's with 12 points, opened the half with a strong one-handed alley-oop dunk, and D.J. Kennedy followed with a drive to tie the game at 27. Although Georgetown never trailed in the second half, it had a hard time shaking St. John's as the Red Storm tied the game three more times.

The Hoyas picked up some breathing room midway through the second half. After Justin Burrell's basket cut the lead to 43-41 with about 11 1/2 minutes left, St. John's went scoreless for the next five minutes as Georgetown went on a 9-0 run and took control.

``Right or wrong, I've gotten comfortable and used to us putting teams through stretches where they don't score,'' Thompson said. ``We needed it tonight and we got it when we needed it.''

The run started with a Summers 3, and then Hibbert made his presence felt. Hibbert blocked a shot that led to Hibbert getting a dunk on offense. On Georgetown's next possession, Hibbert earned a trip to the free throw line.

``I told Roy at halftime to be more aggressive,'' Thompson said. ``And not just for his points, but it opened up everything else.''

Even though the Hoyas picked up the win, St. John's had a much better performance than the last time the two teams played.

St. John's shot 45.8 percent from the field, an improvement on its 21 percent mark in the teams' first meeting. Georgetown had held opponents to 36 percent shooting entering the game, the best mark in Division I.

The fifth straight win for Georgetown against the Red Storm is the longest Hoyas streak in the series. This victory was the closest of the streak; the average margin of the four previous wins was 23.3 points.




 

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