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St. John's (14-7) at Georgetown (15-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 2, 4 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Verizon Center (20,308) -- Washington, D.C. Television: CBS. Home Record: St. John's 10-2. Georgetown 11-1. Away Record: St. John's 4-2, Georgetown 2-2. Neutral Record: St. John's 0-2, Georgetown 2-1. Conference Record: St. John's 6-3, Delaware 5-3. Series Record: St. John's leads, 54-44.
GAMES NOTES: A storied rivalry will be rekindled on Saturday afternoon when the St. John's Red Storm clash with the Georgetown Hoyas in a Big East Conference battle at the Verizon Center.
It took an extra period but St. John's was able to get by DePaul, 79-74, in overtime to earn its longest win streak of the season which now stands at five games. The Red Storm's recent success has pushed it to a 14-7 overall record as well as a 6-3 mark in Big East action. That has St. John's in sole possession of third place in the conference standings. It will be a quick turnaround for the Red Storm, which is 4-2 in its previous road contests, as it returns home to host Connecticut on Tuesday.
Georgetown had an easier time in its contest with Seton Hall on Wednesday. The Hoyas rolled to a 74-52 victory for their third straight victory and fifth in the last six games. In a season in which it has floated in and out of the national rankings Georgetown is 15-4 overall, but at 5-3 in league play finds itself in a four-way tie for the fourth spot in the Big East standings. Georgetown, which is an impressive 11-1 at home, will hit the road to face Rutgers next.
These two founding members of the Big East Conference have met 98 times previously. The 98th meeting actually occurred this season at Madison Square Garden where Georgetown cruised to a 67-51 win. It was the fourth straight victory for the Hoyas. However St. John's still owns the all-time advantage, 54-44.
In the matchup between St. John's and DePaul the two teams came to a grinding halt offensively at the end of regulation. Tied at 65-65 with 4:30 remaining, the two teams combined for just eight points the rest of the way to force overtime. In the extra session the Red Storm hit just 4-of-10 free throws but held the Blue Demons to a single field goal to pull out the win.
Free-throw shooting has been a real weakness for St John's. The Red Storm are the worst shooting team from the charity stripe (65.5 FT percentage), ranking among the 30 worst programs in the country in the category. Such poor production from the foul line has kept the Red Storm down offensively as it ranks just 10th in scoring (68.9 ppg) and field goal percentage (.438) among Big East teams. Led by Chris Obekpa's league leading 4.6 blocks per game, the Red Storm have tightened up on defense to keep in games by holding teams to less than 40 percent shooting. D'Angelo Harrison (19.7 ppg) is the top scoring option for the Red Storm and the second best one in the conference overall.
Georgetown held Seton Hall to 32.6 percent shooting, including just a 6-of-22 effort in the second half in its win on Wednesday. The Hoyas were disruptive on the defensive end all night forcing 25 turnovers which they traded in for 28 points.
Such defensive efforts have been the key for the Hoyas. Georgetown is surrendering the ninth fewest points per game (55.3) in the country, while limiting teams to just 37.9 percent shooting. That opponent's field goal percentage also ranks among the top 20 marks in the country. Playing with such intensity on defense has made up for the Hoyas' slower offensive tempo as they score just 63.9 points per game, despite shooting a solid 45.8 percent from the field. Otto Porter (15.0 ppg, 7.7 rpg) is the leading scorer and rebounder and has really picked up his level of play after Greg Whittington (12.1 ppg, 7.0 rpg) was suspended earlier this season due to academics. Markel Starks (11.8 ppg) handles ball control duties as the best option in the backcourt.
As proved last time these teams met the Hoyas have too much power on the interior for the Red Storm to keep up. Expect another grueling game where offense will be hard to come by.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Georgetown 66, St. John's 60
02/02 10:45:45 ET