College Basketball Nation: Rapid Reaction

Some quick thoughts on St. John's 70-65 win over No. 12 Creighton on Sunday at Madison Square Garden:

What it means: St. John's finally has a win over a ranked opponent, and is suddenly back in the NCAA tournament picture.

The Red Storm had been 0-4 against Top 25 teams, but their resume suddenly looks significantly better. After an 0-5 start in the Big East, they've won six of their past seven games. St. John's improves to 15-9 overall, 5-6 in the conference.

Creighton falls out of first place in the Big East with the loss. The Bluejays are now 19-4 overall, and 9-2 in the conference.

The turning point: Creighton jumped out to a quick 10-3 lead, but St. John's had things tied up by the midpoint of the first half. The Red Storm took their largest lead of the half, 40-33, on a pair of D'Angelo Harrison free throws with 1:27 remaining. But the Bluejays' Austin Chatman buried a 4-pointer in the final seconds to make it 40-36 at intermission.

St. John's pushed the lead back to seven early in the second half, 46-39, but that didn't last long -- Creighton scored eight points from there to retake the lead. The rest of the game was tight. Harrison hit the biggest shot of the game, a 3-pointer with 2:14 left to put St. John's back in front 65-63. Creighton's Grant Gibbs and Jahenns Manigat had good looks from beyond the arc in the final 90 seconds, but couldn't knock 'em down. Harrison put the game away at the foul line.

Star watch: Eight of the nine St. John's players who got into the game scored. Harrison finished with a team-high 19 points, and Chris Obekpa chipped in 11. This was a total team effort, at both ends.

Creighton's Doug McDermott, the second-leading scorer in the country (25.3), hit his average (25 points). But he had to work very hard to get there. And Creighton couldn't get him the ball in crunch time.

Number crunch: Creighton shot just 14-for-25 from the foul line (56 percent). That's a killer.

What's next: St. John's plays at Seton Hall on Thursday. Creighton plays at Butler on Thursday.


What it means: This was embarrassing.

St. John's, which was highly competitive in its first three Big East games despite losing two of them, was thoroughly outclassed Saturday at Madison Square Garden, losing 67-51 to No. 19 Georgetown.

Despite their national ranking, the Hoyas were slumping, having lost their first two Big East games, including a 73-45 loss at home to Pittsburgh their last time out. And Georgetown was without second-leading scorer and rebounder Greg Whittington, who was suspended for the game for a violation of team rules.

Yet St. John's was never in this game, and that's troubling. The Red Storm drop to 9-7 overall, 1-3 in the Big East. The Hoyas improve to 11-3, 1-2 in the conference.

The turning point: St. John's never led -- Georgetown dominated from the opening tip. The Hoyas firmly took control with a 20-2 run in the middle portion of the first half, expanding their lead from 13-8 to 33-10. The Red Storm cut it to 36-19 at halftime.

The second half was just more of the same. Georgetown led by as many as 26. This was an absolute rout.

Star watch: Georgetown did an excellent job on D'Angelo Harrison, blanketing him defensively, even double-teaming him at times. Harrison, who was averaging 21.5 points per game, had a season-low seven points, shooting 3-for-12 from the field.

There was just one bright spot for St. John's. Chris Obekpa had six blocked shots as he set a St. John's record for blocks in a season, breaking the mark set by Walter Berry in 1985-86 (76).

For Georgetown, Otto Porter Jr. had 19 points and 14 rebounds, and Markel Starks added 17 points.

Number crunch: St. John's shot 21-for-59 from the field (35.6 percent), 3-for-16 from beyond the arc and 6-for-16 from the foul line. Awful, awful and awful.

What's next: St. John's plays No. 17 Notre Dame on Tuesday at 7 p.m., again at the Garden. Georgetown hosts Providence on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

These two teams will meet again, in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, Feb. 2 at 4 p.m.


NEW YORK -- A quick look at Georgetown's 64-41 victory over Texas on Tuesday:

What it means: Georgetown continues to look like a team capable of contending in the Big East. Texas? Well, Texas looks like it could use some help.

The Hoyas are now 6-1 on the season, after their win over the Longhorns at Madison Square Garden in the first game of the Jimmy V Classic.

Georgetown was in New York just two weeks ago -- the Hoyas upset then-No. 11 UCLA and nearly upset No. 1 Indiana in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at the Barclays Center. They seem to like the Big Apple. And they’ll be back at the Garden on Feb. 2 to face St. John’s.

Texas, which has already lost to Division II Chaminade in Maui, drops to 5-3, and still has games against North Carolina and Michigan State before Christmas. The Longhorns desperately need star point guard Myck Kabongo, who continues to sit out while the NCAA reviews his eligibility status.

The turning point: Georgetown scored the first nine points of this game, and never lost control from there. The Hoyas led by as many as 17 in the first half, and took a 30-17 lead into the break. Texas shot just 8-for-28 (28.6 percent) in the opening 20 minutes, and committed 12 turnovers.

Texas briefly cut the deficit to single digits, 32-24, on a 3-pointer by Sheldon McClellan four minutes into the second half. But on Georgetown’s very next possession, Markel Starks answered with a trey of his own, and the Hoyas were off and running again. This was about as easy as a victory gets.

Player of the game: Georgetown entered the game with its top four scorers all averaging between 10.7 and 12.7 points per game, and it was a team effort again Tuesday night. Otto Porter filled up the box score, as usual, with a team-high 14 points, 7 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 blocks. Nate Lubick chipped in 13 points, making 6 of 7 attempts from the field.

McClellan had a team-high 12 points off the bench for the Longhorns.

Key stat: Texas was the No. 1-ranked team in the country in field goal percentage defense entering this game, limiting opponents to 30.7 percent shooting. No team had shot better than 36.7 percent against them. But Georgetown shot 41 percent from the field on Tuesday night -- 25-for-61. A switch to zone slowed the Hoyas down a bit in the second half, but they were still dominant.

What’s next: Georgetown will host Towson on Saturday at noon. Texas plays UCLA at 5:15 p.m. on Saturday at Reliant Stadium in Houston.

Rapid Reaction: Wisconsin 73, BYU 56

November, 26, 2011
11/26/11
10:05
PM ET

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. -- A quick look at Wisconsin's 73-56 win over BYU in the Chicago Invitational Challenge final Saturday night:

Overview: Wisconsin began the game playing the Platonic Ideal of Bo Ryan offensive basketball. After eight minutes, the Badgers were 8-for-11 from the field and 5-of-6 from 3-point range. Shots were falling, backcuts were working, everything was clicking. BYU changed its defense to a zone and began forcing turnovers against a notoriously turnover-averse team, went on a 12-2 run and closed the gap to 34-32 at the half.

The Badgers blew the game open in the second half, though, thanks in large part to a flurry of 3s from sophomore guard Ben Brust. BYU couldn't keep pace, and Ryan's team cruised to the Chicago Invitational title.

Star of the game: Brust. The sophomore, playing just down the road from his hometown of Hawthorne Woods, Ill., had a historic night for the Badgers. Brust shot 7-of-10 from beyond the arc, scoring 21 points and tying the school record for 3s in the process.

Brust is the definition of a specialist; the guard attempted just one two-point shot last night. But he's a vital piece in Ryan's team, a group that is adjusting to the loss of scoring forwards Keaton Nankivil and Jon Leuer in the offseason. The Badgers are led by preseason All-American Jordan Taylor, but their supporting cast -- as always seems to be the case with Ryan's program -- is just as important to their success.

Hey, someone had to miss: Speaking of Wisconsin's supporting cast, guard Josh Gasser -- who shares time with Brust and Taylor in the backcourt -- entered Saturday night's game having made 14 of his first 17 3-point shots this season. Gasser couldn't quite keep that 82 percent pace on Saturday; he went 1-for-4 from beyond the arc.

What's next: Things are about to get much more difficult for the Badgers; their next game comes Nov. 30 versus North Carolina in Chapel Hill as part of the Big Ten-ACC Challenge. That should be a fascinating contrast of styles. Meanwhile, BYU will likely get back on track with a game at Northern Arizona, and nonconference tilts with Oregon, Utah and Baylor in the next three weeks.

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