Five Hoyas scored in double figures as No. 11 Georgetown held off scrappy St. John’s, 71-61, Feb. 12 at the Verizon Center.

St. John’s bothered the two leading scorers for Georgetown (19-5, 9-4), senior guard Jason Clark and junior forward Hollis Thompson. Their zone defense was meant to take both players out of the game and that’s what it did for large portions of the contest.

“Well what we tried to do is take Clark out of the game and Thompson,” St. John’s assistant coach Mike Dunlap said. “We know who beat us last time and also the known is Clark and the known is Thompson so by and large we tried to neutralize those guys.”

That meant someone else had to step up, and that person was Columbia, Md.-native Greg Whittington. The freshman scored a career high 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting, including timely baskets when the Red Storm (10-15, 4-9) cut into the Hoyas’ lead.

“I was just listening to the coaches and was just having my feet ready to shoot,” Whittington said. “I have more confidence now and I have my feet set like I said. I’m just being ready to shoot and helping my teammates win.”

Georgetown had a solid defensive game, but struggled to find St. John’s freshman guard D’Angelo Harrison, who burned the Hoyas for 24 points, 15 of those coming on three-pointers.

“We talked about in scouting report preparation, pregame talk, halftime and just about every timeout that you can’t let Harrison get open shots,” Georgetown head coach John Thompson III said. “Most of our discussion was about defense as opposed to offense and I thought we did a poor job of that. He kept getting shots.”

Key Players: While four players joined Whittington in double figures, the co-star of the game was sophomore forward Nate Lubick, who grabbed eight rebounds, dished out five assists and had a career-high four blocked shots. For St. John’s, likely Big East Freshman of the Year Moe Harkless complemented Harrison’s 24 with 20 points of his own.

Key Stretch: After a Harrison three-pointer cut the Hoya lead to three with 4:20 remaining, Georgetown scored six straight points to distance itself from the Red Storm.

Next Up: Georgetown will travel to Providence for a rematch with the Friars Feb. 18 while St. John’s will cross over into Northern New Jersey for a tilt with Seton Hall Feb. 14.

George Barnette

Special to the AFRO