St. John's largest lead of 17 points disappeared in Sunday's 73-72 loss to Georgetown, and head coach Mike Anderson saw one common theme that contributed to the Red Storm's second-half collapse against the Hoyas.
After St. John's (13-10, 2-8 Big East) took a 38-29 lead over Georgetown (13-9, 3-6) into the locker room at Madison Square Garden, the Red Storm got sloppy. All 12 of St John's turnovers came in the second half, which gave the Hoyas chances down the stretch.
"You say you know you want to take care of the home court," Anderson said. "I thought, (in) the first half, we played pretty good basketball and we had zero turnovers. But if you said, 'Coach, what was the narrative of the game?' And you can see it -- we end up with 12 turnovers. They made some plays going down the stretch. Well, we didn't make those plays."
Junior guard Rasheem Dunn and senior guard Mustapha Heron paced St. John's with 16 points apiece, while junior guard Jahvon Blair scored a game-high 23 for Georgetown. All five Hoyas in the starting lineup dropped double digits, while only one other than Dunn -- freshman guard Julian Champagnie, who notched 14 -- hit more than nine points for the Red Storm.
The Red Storm put the foot down to start the second half, going up 50-33 and forcing a Hoyas timeout at the 16:04 mark after sophomore forward Josh Roberts' dunk. Georgetown hung tight, but St. John's still commanded a comfortable 58-45 lead with 11:50 left in the game when Heron's triple connected.
But the Hoyas stormed back, tying the game at 64 apiece thanks to senior center Omer Yurtseven's dunk at the 6:33 mark, coming all the way back on a 20-8 advantage over 5:17. After the Red Storm traded jabs, Georgetown took the 73-72 lead with 10 seconds to go on Yurtseven's layup.
St. John's called timeout, but the Red Storm's 12th turnover proved most costly. Dunn coughed the ball up on senior guard Jagan Mosely's steal and the Hoyas escaped MSG with the one-point edge.
"Getting the last play, we get 10 seconds, which is a lot of time -- you've got to make a play," said Anderson, whose team looks to avoid a three-game losing streak in Saturday's 6 p.m. road game against Creighton (17-5, 6-3). "So just a tough, tough loss. It's a tough one. But our guys have been resilient throughout the year and we've just got to find a way to bounce back."