NEW YORK - Georgetown fought back from a seven-point deficit with less than two minutes left TO cut the St. John's lead to one point, but fell short in a BIG EAST Conference men's basketball game at Madison Square Garden, losing 86-80, on Saturday afternoon.
It was the third-straight loss for the Hoyas, who fall to 14-15 overall and 5-11 in the BIG EAST Conference, while SJU improves to 13-16 overall and 7-9 in league play.
Graduate student guard Rodney Pryor (Evanston, Ill./Notre Dame Prep/Robert Morris) led four players in double figures with 22 points, five rebound and four assists, while junior guard L.J. Peak (Gaffney, S.C./Gaffney) added 20 points and three assists. Sophomore center Jessie Govan (Queens Village, N.Y./Wings Academy) scored 13 points and had three rebounds, while sophomore forward Kaleb Johnson (South Hill, Va./Carlisle) scored 11 points and had five rebounds in his first start of the season.
Georgetown led by one point (36-35) at the break, but a quick 6-0 run from the Red Storm to open the half gave SJU the lead for good. The Hoyas trailed 78-71 with 1:41 left when a three-pointer from sophomore forward Marcus Derrickson (Bowie, Md./Brewster Academy [N.H.]). Georgetown forced a turnover on the next possession and Pryor converted a conventional three-point play to pull within 78-77 with 1:20 on the clock.
After a pair of free throws from SJU's Shamorie Ponds made it 80-77, Pryor missed a trey that could have tied the game with 38 seconds left. Marcus Lovett hit two free throws to make it 82-77, but a layup and a free throw after getting fouled by Peak with 25 seconds left made it 82-80. Lovett hit two more free throws to extend the lead to 84-80 and a 3-pointer from Derrickson with eight seconds left was off the mark.
The Hoyas used a late run in the first half to take a 36-35 lead at halftime, but a 6-0 run gave SJU a 41-36 lead on a layup from Malik Ellison. The Red Storm extended their lead to 48-41 before a 10-4 run from the Blue & Gray made it 52-51 after a Govan jumper. Pryor hit a 3-pointer with 4:48 left as GU trailed by three, 69-66, but the Red Storm would take a 78-71 lead, setting up the wild final two minutes.
The first half was a story of runs. After free throws from junior guard Tre Campbell (Washington, D.C./St. John's College HS) gave the Hoyas a 13-10 lead, St. John's went on a 17-0 run - with guard Federico Mussini scoring 11 points - and took a 27-13 lead after one free throw from Mussini and Darien Williams.
The Hoyas, however, responded with a 19-2 run of their own and tied the game and then took a 32-29 lead after back-to-back 3-pointers from Pryor. Free throws from Peak made it 34-31 and a layup from junior forward Akoy Agau (Omaha, Neb./Omaha Central/Louisville) gave GU a 36-32 lead but a 3-pointer from Ponds with 22 seconds left cut the lead to 36-35.
The Hoyas finished the game shooting 52.9 percent from the floor (27-of-51), 43.8 percent from 3-point land (7-of-16) and 76.0 percent from the free throw line (19-of-25). GU held a 36-29 advantage on the boards and handed out 15 assists, but committed 22 turnovers.
Georgetown is back in action on Tuesday, Feb. 28, visiting Seton Hall. Tipoff at the Prudential Center is slated for 6:30 p.m. The game will be shown live on FS1, with Tim Brando and Bill Raftery calling all of the action. Fans locally can tune in to 106.7 FM The Fan for the radio call of Rich Chvotkin.