W2W4: St. John's at Georgetown

January, 3, 2014
1/03/14
12:05
PM ET
Here's what to watch for when St. John's (9-4, 0-1 Big East) plays Georgetown (9-3, 1-0 Big East) on Saturday at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.

Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m., and you can watch the game on Fox Sports 1.

RIVALRY RENEWED: The breakup of the old Big East marked the end of some longstanding rivalries, but St. John's-Georgetown is alive and well.

This will be the 100th meeting between the two schools on the hardwood, dating back to 1909. St. John's has a 53-46 edge in the series, but has lost five in a row to Georgetown, and eight straight on the road.

Despite this being only the first week in January, it's a critical game for St. John's. The Red Storm opened conference play with a 10-point loss at Xavier on New Year's Eve, and next up is a very tough home game against No. 11-ranked Villanova. An 0-3 start in the Big East could be tough to recover from.

SHOOT TO WIN: Long-distance shooting wasn't the problem against Xavier -- St. John's shot 7-for-14 from 3-point range -- but the Red Storm were just 14-for-54 (25.9 percent) from inside the arc.

D'Angelo Harrison scored 21 points, but shot 7-for-20. JaKarr Sampson scored 10, but shot 5-for-15. The only player who was reasonably good from the floor was freshman Rysheed Jordan, who scored a career-high 17 points -- 5-for-11 from the field, 6-for-8 from the foul line.

Guard Phil Greene said Thursday that shot selection was a topic of discussion in the aftermath of the Xavier game. "We definitely talked about it," Greene said. "[Coach] kept it simple. If you draw crowds, pass out of the crowd. If it's one person guarding you, go to work. It's simple, don't dribble into a crowd, don't take bad shots and hit the open guy because we can all play on this team."

THE HOYAS: Georgetown, picked to finish second in the Big East (three spots ahead of St. John's) lost two of its first three games -- to No. 10 Oregon (now 13-0) in South Korea, and to Northeastern in Puerto Rico. Since then, it has won eight of nine. The Hoyas' other loss was at No. 16 Kansas. They are coming off back-to-back wins against Florida International and DePaul.

Three players average in double figures, led by 6-foot-2 senior guard Markel Starks (16.3 ppg, 4.3 apg) and 6-foot-3 sophomore guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera (15.9 ppg, 4.7 rpg). Joshua Smith, the 6-foot-10, 350-pound junior center who transferred from UCLA, is averaging 12.1 points and 3.2 rebounds in 19.7 minutes per game, shooting 69.2 percent from the field.

Speaking of shooting, Georgetown is tied for 22nd in the country in field-goal percentage (49.1). And the Hoyas are ranked nearly as high in defensive field-goal percentage (25th), holding opponents to 38.5 percent. But Georgetown is ranked 325th in Division I (out of 345) in personal fouls per game (22.9) St. John's needs to attack the basket, earn free throws, and drain 'em.
Kieran Darcy is an ESPNNewYork.com staff writer. He joined ESPN in August 2000 after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, where he played four years of JV basketball.
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