The Hoyas (13-9, 3-6 Big East) began immediately chipping away at the sizable St. John’s (13-10, 2-8) lead, beginning with a 10-2 run over the following two minutes. After St. John’s extended their lead back to 13, Georgetown tied the game with nine minutes to go at 64 each.
The two teams clawed their way to a 72-71 St. John’s lead, but the Hoyas had the ball following a St. John’s turnover, relentlessly pushing the ball up the court with 15 seconds to go.
Guard Jagan Mosely found Omer Yurtseven for a senior-to-senior connection to give the Hoyas a 73-72 lead 10 seconds later. On the ensuing possession, St. John’s guard Rasheem Dunn, looking to create another late-game bucket, stumbled and turned the ball over, and the Hoyas dribbled out the clock to steal the victory.
“I thought in the first half we played pretty good basketball and we had zero turnovers,” said Red Storm coach Mike Anderson following the loss, in which St. John’s was outscored 40-22 in the final 16 minutes. “We ended up with 12 turnovers. Just not making the right decisions at the right time.”
Displeased with the outcome, Dunn took the fall for St. John’s Sunday afternoon.
“As you all know, the game doesn’t come down to one possession, but obviously I couldn’t step up and make the big play that my team needed me to do,” he said frankly. “Things happen and that was just one of the mistakes that I could’ve prevented.”
Dunn finished with a game-high 16 points and drilled all six of his free throw attempts. Tying him for the club-lead was Mustapha Heron, who hit four three-pointers of his own.
Heron came off the bench for the first time this season and logged 24 minutes in favor of Greg Williams, Jr. making his first start. Anderson – who also re-insterted Julian Champagnie into the starting lineup – explained the rationale afterwards.
“I thought our guys came out and played with great energy,” he explained. “I thought our defense was connected. I thought offensively we had great ball movement. I thought even the guys that didn't start came off the bench and gave us some quality minutes.
“Every now and then you have to shake it up and that’s the biggest key,” he added. “I thought they did the things that I needed them to do.”
The freshman Champagnie recorded 14 points, 10 rebounds and three steals while shooting 60 percent from the floor, while Williams played 33 minutes and finished with four points and two steals while serving as a strong defensive presence.
Jahvon Blair paced the Hoyas for 23 points and five assists while shooting 9-of-19 from the floor and 5-of-11 from three. The aforementioned Yurtseven – a previously early NBA Draft entry and withdrawal – added 13 points and an afternoon-best 15 rebounds, while shooting 6-of-11, including the game-winning shot.
“To me, this is a great win,” said Hoyas coach Patrick Ewing after the victory. “Undermanned, we were down 12 at one point and my team didn't give up. They kept fighting, they kept making plays.”
Ewing continued to say this was effectively Georgetown’s most noteworthy win of the season.
“This is a season-defining win,” he said. “What I told them in the locker room is that we have to continue to build on this. We can't take a step forward in getting a great win like this and then go backwards. The thing that I love most about the win is that we got the win with a stop at the end.”
St. John’s only has one game this week – a Saturday evening affair with Creighton in Nebraska at 6 p.m. on the CBS Sports Network.