Hoyas show they're good at rebounding

Georgetown forward Hollis Thompson gets tangled up with D.J. Kennedy of St. John's. Thompson scored 15 points in 18 minutes.
Georgetown forward Hollis Thompson gets tangled up with D.J. Kennedy of St. John's. Thompson scored 15 points in 18 minutes. (Toni L. Sandys)
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Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 27, 2011

After an eight-day break between games, Georgetown emerged Wednesday refreshed, refocused and, if its 77-52 victory over St. John's was any indication, ready to make a run in the Big East.

The 21st-ranked Hoyas opened a double-digit lead with a crisp opening 20 minutes, stamped out an early second-half challenge from the reeling Red Storm, then pulled away behind Jason Clark, Hollis Thompson and a feisty defensive effort en route to a third straight victory.

The win boosted Georgetown's record to 15-5 and 4-4 in the conference and vaulted it toward the middle of the standings in a league where everyone appears vulnerable.

"There was no good thing in losing those games early, but it's a long year," Coach John Thompson III said. "As everyone is seeing, teams in this league are going to beat each other up. We just had to climb out and keep fighting."

The Red Storm used a 9-1 run to pull to 41-36 about five minutes into the second half.

But moments later, Thompson, who came off the bench for the first time this season, put St. John's away with a three-pointer and a pretty finger roll on consecutive possessions that stretched the Hoyas' lead to 50-39.

Coach Thompson would not specify a reason for replacing Hollis Thompson in the starting lineup with freshman Nate Lubick. But the move seemed to work on all accounts.

Thompson scored 15 points and grabbed six rebounds in 18 minutes and Lubick's size and toughness aided a defensive effort that limited St. John's to 33.9 percent from the field, the lowest shooting percentage for any of the Hoyas' opponents this season.

"When you come off the bench, you have an opportunity to see what we're doing right and what we need to do [better], and I try to bring that to the team," Thompson said. "I think it worked."

As important as Thompson's contributions were, the Hoyas won because of a re-dedication to team defense, which was the team's primary focus in practice this week.

Georgetown's players communicated, helped one another and aggressively pursued guards along the perimeter.

The best individual effort on defense was Chris Wright's handling of St. John's leading scorer Dwight Hardy, who was held to 10 points on 4-for-16 shooting. Hardy scored a game-high 20 points in the Red Storm's 61-58 victory at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 3.

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