WASHINGTON - Starting its five freshman "Fresh Five" lineup for the fifth time this year and playing against its 10th ranked opponent of the season, St. John's trailed by just two points midway through the second half before Georgetown used some late 3-pointers to defeat the Red Storm, 71-61, at the Verizon Center.
D'Angelo Harrison poured in a game-high 24 points to notch his ninth-career 20-point game and fifth in the past seven contests.Moe Harkless also reached 20 points for the fifth time in his career, chipping in 20 points and six boards to help pace St. John's (10-15, 4-9).
The Red Storm shot 40.4 percent (21-of-52) from the floor and committed just six turnovers, its fewest since turning the ball over four times in the season-opening win against William & Mary.
"What was really good this afternoon was the way our guys played all the way through," said assistant coach Mike Dunlap. "We really took a step forward after our past two games. We struggled on the boards and missed some open looks, but we took good care of the ball, we got to the free throw line and we played our style of basketball. When we got it down to one possession, we just couldn't level the score. We were getting the stops and we needed to make a shot and today we couldn't do it."
Greg Whittington scored 12 points to lead five players in double-figures for Georgetown (19-5, 9-4).Jason Clark, Markel Starks and Otto Porter had 11 apiece, while Hollis Thompson added 10 for the Hoyas, which shot 49.0 percent (24-of-49) and held a +7 (33-26) margin on the boards.
An Amir Garrett steal set up a fastbreak dunk for Harkless to open the second half before a Phil Greene jumper and four Harkless free throws paced a 6-2 run that brought the Red Storm to within 44-42 with 10:06 remaining. Starks answered with a 3-pointer, but two more Harkless free throws brought St. John's back to within three, 47-44.
The Red Storm then had back-to-back possessions with a chance to tie the game, but a missed 3-pointer was followed by a turnover and a Thompson layup put the Hoyas back up five.
The Red Storm closed to within three points two more times, but Georgetown answered with a 3-pointer on both occasions to bring the lead back to six.
The Hoyas jumped out to an early eight-point lead, 15-7, at the 12:11 mark, but missed their next five shots and a Harrison 3 capped a 7-0 run that brought St. John's to within one, 15-14, with 7:33 in the half.
A Thompson 3-pointer helped Georgetown quickly extend the lead back to seven and the Hoyas led by five, 31-26, at the break.
The Red Storm visits nearby Newark, N.J., on Feb. 14 for a Valentine's Day date with local league rival Seton Hall. The second-straight road contest for St. John's will air at 7 p.m. on SNY.