Georgetown pulls away from St. John's

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Sports,College,Craig Stouffer,Georgetown University

Lubick has huge game in Hoyas victory

Steve Lavin stumbled momentarily over the pronunciation of Nate Lubick's last name.

But the St. John's coach knows what the Georgetown junior forward is capable of doing, and he watched him register his first career double-double as the Hoyas toppled the Red Storm 68-56.

With a career-high 16 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, two blocks and a steal, Lubick set the pace for Georgetown's fourth straight victory and sixth in its last seven games. St. John's (14-8, 6-4) had its five-game winning streak snapped, losing for the first time since a 67-51 defeat to Georgetown (16-4, 6-3 Big East) at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 12.

"Their physicality, Lubick [pronounced Lubbock] in particular, gotta pronounce it, Lubick, yeah," Lavin said. "Lubbock, that's a place you don't want to go. Any coach would appreciate someone like him. He's all about the team. He's a grinder. He adds great value in some ways at both ends of the floor. I thought he was really the key to the game."

Lubick's all-around performance was complemented by Markel Starks (12 points, six assists) and Otto Porter Jr. (11 points, seven rebounds), while the Hoyas' defense held St. John's leading scorer D'Angelo Harrison (19.7 ppg) to a season-low two points.

"I'm a leader, as well as Otto and Markel," Lubick said. "I think, especially as of late, us three have been doing a pretty good job of that. That's something that needs to continue. I'm just somebody who is going to do anything. I'll just do anything to win. That's all I care about."

Porter, who had only one touch in the first five minutes, curled a long bounce pass to Lubick, and he turned around for a layup. He then scored six straight points, and the Hoyas finished a 12-0 run with D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera's 3 for a 24-15 lead.

Lubick helped take over late in the first half when Porter went to the bench with two fouls. En route to 10 points on 5-for-5 shooting before halftime, he soared with two hands to pull down an offensive rebound, spun in the lane and screamed after his banked-in layup. Starks then chest-bumped Jabril Trawick (12 points, five rebounds, four assists) in celebration after knocking down Georgetown's fifth 3-pointer of the half.

Aaron Bowen, whose circus finish was the game-winning bucket against Louisville seven days early, flew in for another two-handed putback that brought the crowd of 15,625 to its feet. With their highest scoring first half of the season in Big East play, the Hoyas carried a 39-28 lead into break.

St. John's pulled within 48-40 on a huge putback dunk by JaKarr Sampson (18 points) and turned to French junior Marco Bourgault (12 points) with Harrison struggling. But Lubick, Porter and Starks -- the latter of whom matched his career-best with four 3-pointers -- hit timely buckets throughout the second half.

"They have to be there every night," Hoyas coach John Thompson III said. "Those three guys in particular have to be there every night because everyone else, possibly, probably will be up and down. For the most part during this stretch here, they have been there every night, doing their job."

The physical battle between the two teams cost St. John's starting guard Jamal Branch, who crumpled to the ground with a sprained left knee and had to be carried from the court by his teammates after Lubbock tumbled backward into his leg.

There was also a brief tussle as players shook hands after the game that was broken up at midcourt, which cast a brief shadow over Thompson's 200th win at Georgetown.

"I'm happy and fortunate to have been here long enough to get 200," Thompson said. "Hopefully, we can get 201 now whenever our next game."

cstouffer@washingtonexaminer.com

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Craig Stouffer

Staff writer - sports
The Washington Examiner