Jan. 13, 2016
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NEW YORK - Four Red Storm players scored double-figures, but St. John's could not overcome a 28.6 percent first-half shooting effort as Georgetown earned a 93-73 victory Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.
Ron Mvouika (Paris, France) scored all of his team-high 15 points after intermission to lead St. John's (7-11, 0-5). Mvouika shot 6-of-7 from the floor, including a 2-of-2 mark from distance. Amar Alibegovic (Rome, Italy) added 12 points, while Federico Mussini (Reggio Emilia, Italy) made a pair of 3s as part of an 11-point effort. Durand Johnson (Baltimore, Md.) had 10 points.
"I've seen [our players] individually and collectively play good basketball so I'm going to keep pushing them," said St. John's head coach Chris Mullin. "I thought tonight [there was] mental and physical fatigue, but that happens. It doesn't take away the good performances and the progress that we've made."
D'Vauntes Smith Rivera made 5-of-8 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 33 points to lead Georgetown (11-6, 4-1). Reggie Cameron added 15 points, while Tre Campbell had 12 for the Hoyas. Georgetown shot 51.9 percent (28-of-54) from the floor and made 27-of-33 free throws (81.8 percent).
"Georgetown came out and played hard tonight," said Johnson. "Obviously we came out sleep-walking a little bit and Georgetown got comfortable making shots.
"Give those guys credit, they came out and played hard, played together and made shots."
Georgetown scored the first five points before Mussini drained 3s on consecutive possessions and St. John's trailed 9-6 at the 16:57 mark. Malik Ellison (Voorhees, N.J.) followed with a layup and then went 1-of-2 at the line as freshmen combined to score the first nine points for the Red Storm.
St. John's trailed by four after a pair of Alibegovic free throws with 11:15 to play, but a pair of Cameron 3s and a Campbell trey helped fuel a 16-3 run as the Hoyas opened up a 17-point lead, 35-18.
Georgetown took a 45-28 advantage into the locker room. Cameron sank three of the Hoyas' five first half 3s and matched Smith-Rivera with 13 points at the break.
The Red Storm shot 50.0 percent (13-of-26) in the second half to keep pace with the Hoyas. St. John's fell behind by 27 before going on a 14-1 run to cut its deficit to 85-71. Mvouika scored nine of his 15 points during the spirited offensive surge.
"Towards the end of the game we talked about putting together a burst to set the tone for the next time we play," said Mullin. "That was a positive thing."
Freshman forward Kassoum Yakwe (Bamako, Mali) scored five points and grabbed eight rebounds in his second-straight start. Yakwe swatted three shots to increase his BIG EAST leading total to 13 blocks in conference play. Felix Balamou (Conakry, Guinea) and Ellison each had eight points as St. John's dropped its first contest of the season at Madison Square Garden.
"We will go back to work tomorrow, watch film and keep pushing," said Mvouika. "We aren't going to quit. Durand [Johnson] and I only have two months left in our careers and we aren't going to let this team quit."
St. John's returns to action on Saturday when the Red Storm visits No. 23/23 Butler at noon airing on FS1.