Reporting Bobby Bancroft
WASHINGTON – Georgetown held its annual ‘Gray Out’ game on Saturday afternoon against visiting St. John’s.
While the fans were greeted upon arrival to their seats with a complimentary gray t-shirt, the most important guy donning that color during a national televised game between two long time rivals was Nate Lubick.
For weeks Coach John Thompson III has been pointing out that Lubick’s contributions to the Hoyas reversal of fortunes from an 0-2 start in the Big East have been far greater than whatever any box score indicates.
As is often the case, a coach seeing well beyond the numbers was, in fact, correct as Nate Lubick led four Hoyas in double figures in defeating St. John’s 68-56 to win their fourth straight game and sixth in seventh tries since that rocky start.
Markel Starks and Jabril Trawick chipped in 12 points apiece while Otto Porter Jr added eleven in just 27 minutes after being saddled with some first half foul trouble.
“He’s been playing at a very high level for a long time now, to tell you the truth,” Thompson III said about Lubick’s performance.
“When we need something done, he gets a rebound, makes an assist, gets a basket. He’s been doing that consistently and tonight was no exception.”
Having started since midway through his freshmen campaign, Lubick may have turned the ‘Gray Out’ into a personal ‘Break-Out’ performance by posting his first career double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds as the Hoyas swept St. John’s on the season. His 16 points represented a career-high after 85 games.
Coming into the game as the Big East’s leader in field goal percentage (63 percent), Lubick was even more accurate than usual by connecting on 8-of-10 from the field.
“I am a player that will do anything and everything to win,” Lubick added.
In this case, the stats do paint an accurate picture as the 6-foot-8 front court player also contributed four assists, two blocks, and a steal to go into a very well rounded afternoon.
Georgetown (16-4, 6-3) got off to a hot start by scoring a conference best 39 first half points in taking an 11-point lead into the locker room. In a bit of a change from the last meeting, Georgetown took more three-pointers in the first period (14) on Saturday than than in the entire first game (eight).
For St. John’s (14-8, 6-4), which had reeled off four straight wins since that 67-51 loss to the same Hoyas, it was another disappearing act from their top scorer.
D’Angelo Harrison came in as the second leading scorer in the Big East at 19.7 points per game. After being held to a career-low two points on 0-for-9 shooting from the field, the sophomore guard totaled just nine points in the two losses.
“I think its probably we just got lucky,” Thompson III explained in how his defense kept Harrison in check once again.
“He’s fun to watch, as a fan, not as an opposing coach.”
Going forward Harrison might not want any of the Hoyas watching him play.
But back to Lubick who was as shaky as any Hoya in those back-to-back opening conference losses to Marquette and Pittsburgh. Lubick was held scoreless in the one point loss in Milwaukee and totaled seven against Pittsburgh. Since then he’s contributed no fewer than six in a run that few expected after the loss of Greg Whittington.
Said Lubick about his increased ownership of the team on the court: ”I’m a leader, as well as Otto and Markel.”
“Earlier in the season we would play well at times. We defended as a team at times. Now, we defend as a team for the entire game. We are a much more consistent team and we just keep getting more and more consistent.”
Georgetown has held its last seven opponents to below 39 percent shooting after holding the Red Storm to just 31 percent. The Hoyas also lead the conference in field goal percentage defense (27 percent), a number they bested on Saturday (22 percent).
Notes: Thompson III won his 200th game in charge of Georgetown. Thompson III and his Hall of Fame father now account for 796 (51 percent) of Georgetown’s 1560 all-time wins. The Hoyas lead the all time Big East series against St. John’s 35-30. It’s the largest ever lead that Georgetown has owned overs its rivals since the start of the league in 1979.
Up Next: Georgetown has a week off before traveling to Rutgers next Saturday for a noon tip-off. Georgetown has won nine out of ten against the Scarlet Knights since Thompson III took over in 2004 with the lone loss coming at the RAC in 2010.