St. John’s closed Wednesday night’s game like it wanted to see what it’s like to play in front of an empty arena, and it may just get that chance.
With Big East officials meeting to decide whether the league will limit fans to the rest of the conference tournament as the coronavirus spreads, and the NCAA deciding it will not have fans as its tournament starting next week, the Johnnies took everyone’s mind off the pandemic for a little while.
Sloppy for most of the night and unable to throw the ball in the ocean, St. John’s unleashed a 23-0 run, turning a 10-point deficit into a 13-point victory and moved onto the quarterfinals with a thrilling 75-62 victory over Georgetown. With the win, the Red Storm will meet No. 1 Creighton at noon Thursday.
Marcellus Earlington keyed the charge, scoring 17 of his 19 points after halftime, including three 3-pointers. His 3 with 3:10 left gave St. John’s the lead for good. He followed with a steal and hit two free throws, before LJ Figueroa (game-high 22 points) hit a 3-pointer, pushing the lead to eight and sending into pro-St. John’s into a frenzy.
St. John’s was down 62-52 and looking unlikely it would advance. But Georgetown didn’t score over the final 6:41 and the Johnnies found the range, scoring on 10 of their final 11 possessions.