Hollis Thompson responded to his benching with 15 points and six rebounds, and No. 21 Georgetown brought its Jersey success home to a snowbound nation's capital Wednesday night with a 77-52 win over St. John's.
Jason Clark added 16 points and Austin Freeman had 14 for the Hoyas (15-5, 4-4), who shot 51 percent to win their third straight and finally pull even again in the Big East standings. The turnabout that started last week with wins at Rutgers and Seton Hall had a homecoming as emphatic as the two-handed, rim-hanging dunk by Thompson that pushed the lead to double digits for the first time late in the first half.
Justin Burrell had 12 points and eight rebounds for St. John's (11-8, 4-5), losers of five out of six after starting 3-0 in conference play. Dwight Hardy, averaging a team-high 14.7 points entering the game, went 4 for 16 from the field and finished with 10 points.
The Red Storm were playing the seventh game of a brutal eight-game stretch against Top 25 opponents, a streak that began with a 61-58 win over Georgetown at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 3. St. John's has lost 32 in a row on the road to ranked teams, its last win coming in 2002.
Thompson, a sophomore forward whose play has been as inconsistent as Georgetown's as a whole, wasn't in the starting lineup for the first time this season. He was replaced by the brute strength of freshman Nate Lubick, making his first collegiate start. Lubick promptly committed four turnovers in the first half and finished with six points and six rebounds, while Thompson went 5 for 6 from the field and had his most rebounds in five games
The sparse crowd that made it to the arena had to brave an afternoon of thundersnow, a rare phenomenon that apparently doesn't mesh well with a Red Storm. St. John's shot only 33 percent in the first half and went the final 5:01 without a basket during a 10-0 Georgetown run that gave the Hoyas a 40-27 lead at the break.
St. John's showed a hint of a rally early in the second half, cutting the deficit to six on Burrell's three-point play with 14½ minutes to play, but the Hoyas outscored the Red Storm 32-13 the rest of the way.
The Hoyas' fortunes this season rise and fall with Freeman, the Big East preseason player of the year who scored only six in the loss at St. John's and followed it with poor-shooting, 11- and 12-point games in losses to West Virginia and Pittsburgh. Freeman roared back to score 25 against Rutgers and 28 against Seton Hall. He was only 5 for 13 from the field on Wednesday, but he had three 3-pointers and converted one into a four-point play as he was knocked over backward while making the shot.
Georgetown, with the rhythm restored to its Princeton-influenced offense, had assists on 12 of its 15 baskets in the first half and on 21 of 26 baskets for the game.