Iverson, Hoyas rout St. John's

January 25, 1995|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Sun Staff Writer

LANDOVER -- The anticipated shootout between the nation's most heralded freshmen never developed.

What happened last night at USAir Arena instead was that Georgetown delivered an old-fashioned whipping to a young and struggling St. John's team.

The 14th-ranked Hoyas, with Allen Iverson scoring 19 first-half points, took command 10 minutes into the game and rolled to an 88-71 Big East Conference win before 12,081.

Iverson did his part, playing all but three minutes after being slowed by a sprained ankle in the previous two games, both conference losses.

"The best part about this game is that Allen played 37 minutes," said Georgetown coach John Thompson. "He's been wanting to play all along. We looked at it in practice and it didn't look bad. I think he's now about 80 percent."

That was good enough during a first-half offensive spree that took the steam out of the Red Storm.

The Hoyas led 20-16 after St. John's freshman sensation Felipe Lopez's only basket of the first half, when Iverson took over. He scored 15 of Georgetown's next 22 points, capping the outburst with a three-pointer that made the score 42-27.

Iverson, who finished with 21, was seemingly everywhere at once, making two key steals, faking an opponent out of his path with a double-clutch move on the way to a layup and feeding the Hoyas' big men, who dominated inside.

Meanwhile, Lopez was shooting 1-for-6 from the field, having two attempts blocked by Don Reid and generally making no impact.

St. John's coach Brian Mahoney thought the mismatch up front hurt his team.

"Obviously, the biggest thing is their physical front line made our guys look very small," said Mahoney, whose team was out-rebounded 21-11 in the first half and 42-29 for the game. "I just didn't feel we competed. We practiced yesterday at the University of Maryland and competed better there. I guess it's just a confidence factor."

Georgetown (13-3, 6-2) ran its advantage to 60-34 three minutes into the second half, then fought off attempts by the Red Storm to overcome the deficit.

Three times St. John's closed within 11 points, with Lopez scoring 17 second-half points.

On the final occasion, at 75-64, Georgetown answered with seven straight points.

The defeat was the sixth in a row for St. John's (8-7, 2-6), which has not won since Jan. 4 at Providence.

Iverson said he approached the game "just like any other. I didn't want to come here and try to do too much and be a hero. We got a good run and we felt good with the lead we had at halftime. The idea was to come back out and not get careless and keep that lead."

The two freshmen chatted with each other during the pre-game shoot-around.

"What we talked about was positive things that didn't have anything to do with basketball," said Iverson. "It was about life."

Thompson was pleased with the team's balanced scoring (six players had at least nine points) and the 14 points and six rebounds of center Othella Harrington, who played just 21 minutes because of foul trouble.

Mahoney, who tried shaking up his lineup by playing freshman Tarik Turner at point guard, couldn't find much satisfaction in anything.

Turner, from Charlottesville, Va., was familiar with Iverson, having played with him in summer leagues.

Tarik did a terrific job trying to contain him and prevent him from breaking us down," Mahoney said of the matchup. "But there was no mystery there and Allen is very quick. It's hard to hold him down for long."

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