Where: Madison Square Garden, New York
NEW YORK – (Special Preview for Digital Sports Desk by The Sports Xchange) – Georgetown and St. John’s closed the regular season in disappointing fashion, but one of the teams will extend its season by another day when they collide Wednesday in the first round of the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden. Defending national champion Villanova, the top seed in this event, awaits the winner between the eighth-seeded Red Storm and ninth-seeded Hoyas.
The teams split two meetings this season, with each winning on its own home court as Georgetown posted a 28-point victory in early January before St. John’s exacted a measure of revenge with a six-point triumph late last month. However, that was the only win for the Red Storm among their final five games as they stumbled to a 7-11 record in league play. Georgetown wasn’t any better, going 5-13 in Big East action with five straight losses entering this week. “We’re just focusing on the task at hand,” Hoyas coach John Thompson III told reporters regarding the frustration surrounding the program. “It’s as simple as that.”
TV: 7 p.m. ET, FS1
ABOUT GEORGETOWN (14-17): The Hoyas closed the regular season with a 26-point home loss to Villanova, which held Georgetown to 36.2 percent shooting and 4-of-15 from beyond the arc – not to mention 20 turnovers. Rodney Pryor, who scored 21 points, averages a team-high 18.1 and also led the team with 22 in the recent loss to St. John’s. L.J. Peak scored 20 in that game and added 15 in the ensuing contest, but he struggled to the tune of 1-of-3 for two points (and five fouls) in 12 minutes versus Villanova.
ABOUT ST. JOHN’S (13-18): St. John’s has allowed at least 80 points in five straight games and ranks 305th nationally in points allowed (78) entering Tuesday’s contest. The team’s most recent loss was an 11-point setback against Providence in which Shamorie Ponds registered a career-high 29 to set a school record for points in a single season (547). Ponds averages 17.6 points and the Red Storm also get 16.4 from Marcus LoVett, who is shooting 36.5 percent over his last five games. On a conference call to promote tournament, Coach Chris Mullin dismissed memories of his playing days at the BIG EAST, noting “that was a long time ago.”
1. Ponds has made nine steals in his last two games and averages 2.1 per contest.
2. Six of Georgetown’s top seven scorers shoot at least 75 percent from the foul line.
3. Pryor has knocked down multiple 3-pointers in seven straight games.