St. John’s basketball must respond on road following Big East defeat

St. John's basketball guard Rasheem Dunn (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)
St. John's basketball guard Rasheem Dunn (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports) /

The St. John’s basketball program has a chance to respond following its first Big East Conference loss.

The makeup of the St. John’s basketball team will be on display in the nation’s capital on Sunday night.

Following its first loss of conference play, the Johnnies (5-2, 0-1 Big East) will remain on the road to take on its rival, the Georgetown Hoyas (2-3, 0-1 Big East).

Mike Anderson‘s team fell in a highly contested matchup with Seton Hall on Friday afternoon while Patrick Ewing‘s team lost hours later in heartbreaking fashion against No. 9 Villanova.

Despite the commonalities of a loss, both games could not have been more different as the Red Storm were battling from behind from the opening tip against the Pirates while the Hoyas blew an 18-point lead at home to the Wildcats, eventually losing by 13 points.

Georgetown was held to 17 points the second half, following a first half where the Hoyas exploded for 46 points.

Senior forward Jamorko Pickett led his team in its most recent defeat with 16 points and ten rebounds while he averages 14.6 points and 10.0 rebounds per game on the season.

ALSO READ: Sandro Mamukelashvili dominates St. John’s in league opener

However, Jahvon Blair leads the Hoyas a a team with 18.4 points per game and sophomore center Qudus Wahab, who stands at 6-foot-11, averages 11.2 points and 7.4 rebounds.

Two of Georgetown’s losses have come against Top-15 teams in the country (No. 11 West Virginia, No. 9 Villanova) but the major outlier was a 78-71 defeat against Navy back on December 1.

St. John’s put forth a tremendous effort after its lone loss of the season, a 89-66 victory against Stony Brook, which came following its matchup against BYU.

The Red Storm became fully healthy for the first time since November 25, its season opener,  against Seton Hall with the return of senior guard Rasheem Dunn, who was sidelined with a concussion, but came off the bench to add ten points, all in the second half, in Johnnies’ loss.

St. John’s basketball has a chance to make a statement on Sunday night

A win over Georgetown isn’t going to send shockwaves across the country, or the Big East, but a victory will resonate inside the St. John’s locker room.

Last season or in previous regimes, the Red Storm probably wouldn’t win this pending matchup with the Hoyas given the trip to Washington D.C. and playing a program in a down season and without many stars.

St. John’s has a better roster than the Hoyas this season, and the team that resides in Queens has started 0-2 in the Big East three of the last four seasons. Sunday will also mark the fifth straight game that the Red Storm will play that was not on its original schedule.

ALSO READ: Top St. John’s recruiting target pushes up announcement date

A team that is mentally tough will rise to the challenge and pull off a victory.

If the Red Storm can win they will be looked at as a potential threat in the Big East. A loss would mean St. John’s is in the midst of yet another season where the program has a competitive roster, but won’t be viewed as a serious contender in the conference.

There is no such thing as a must win game on December 13, but this is as close to a must-win as you are going to get in mid-December.

The ball is in your court, Johnnies. (No pun intended)

Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30pm EST (Fox Sports 1) inside McDonough Gymnasium, the on-campus home of the Georgetown Hoyas in the 2020-21 season.

PREDICTION: St. John’s 75, Georgetown 70

Related Story. Biggest takeaways from St. John’s basketball season thus far. light