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February 16, 2014

Surging squads meet in Garden

February 16, 2014 - This evening at 7p EST, Madison Square Garden again hosts a BIG EAST thriller, with Georgetown going to NYC to take on St. John's. The matchup shapes up as one of the more meaningful for the conference this year; both teams suffered early losses and are now on winning streaks. They also stand locked in league standings.

Georgetown, now 15-9 and 6-6 in the BIG EAST, lost six of seven games in January, including five straight, all league losses. Coach John Thompson III's team, adjusting to not having junior center Joshua Smith while welcoming the return of junior swingman Jabril Trawick, since have rung off four consecutive W's.

St. John's (16-9, 6-6) took L's in five straight conference games starting New Year's eve, only to turnaround and prevail in seven of eight contests. More or less corresponding with this turnaround is the rise of freshman guard Rysheed Jordan, who as the teams point guard has been scoring, diming and leading, a point Thompson agreed with yesterday, noting "He's playing at a high, high level right now".

For the season this rookie from Philly is tallying 8.2 points, 3.2 rebounds and has notched a team leading 74 assists. During the team's successful spurt, Jordan has lead the Johnnies in helpers four times.

The Hoyas are of course powered by their own backcourt, with senior Markel Starks and sophomore D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera leading the way. They score 16.8 and 20.6 ppg, respectively, while Starks also paces the team in assists at four, a step above Smith-Rivera's 2.8.

To hear both Thompson and Smith-Rivera comment on keys to the game, the Hoyas' state and more, see the Premium Court message board.

For those interested in tickets, click here.

HoyaReport.com will have real time, in-game chat for those who can't make it. Radio listeners can tune into ESPN 980 AM for Rich Chvotkin's call, while Fox Sports 1 will have the TV broadcast.

Whomever wins today's game will have a game up on the loser. Given the the Johnnies fell to G'Town 77-60 in mid-January, this contest's impact is amplified. That kind of thing could impact BIG EAST Tournament standing/success, which could given both crew's losses impact NCAA Tournament selection.

The Garden again is site to a big deal.

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