- The Washington Times - Monday, January 9, 2006

NEW YORK — Georgetown’s Darrel Owens buried the Hoyas’ history against St. John’s under a hail of 3-pointers.

The fifth-year senior swingman drilled six of eight 3s and finished with a game-high 24 points last night to lead the Hoyas to a 79-65 victory over the Red Storm at Madison Square Garden.

The victory snapped a six-game Georgetown losing skein against St. John’s at the Garden (dating to 1998-99) and propelled the Hoyas (10-2, 2-0 Big East) into Wednesday’s matchup at fellow league dark horse West Virginia with the program’s first 2-0 Big East start since 2000-01.

“You can’t dwell on the past,” Owens said of the Hoyas’ rocky recent history at St. John’s (7-6, 0-2). “We actually played pretty well at the Big East tournament last year, so we came in with some confidence, and it was one of those nights — reminiscent of the South Carolina game, when I felt like I couldn’t miss.”

Against the Gamecocks in the quarterfinals of the NIT last season, Owens hit seven of 10 3s en route to a career-high 26-point performance in the loss. Last night, the 6-foot-7 wing from Napoleanville, La., keyed a 16-0 second-half Georgetown run that turned a 55-54 scrap with 11:39 remaining into a 71-54 laugher at the 4:08 mark.

Until that point, Georgetown’s perimeter offense had been excellent, but the Hoyas had struggled defensively with the Red Storm’s interior tandem of Aaron Spears (14 points) and Lamont Hamilton (10 points). Without starting point guard Daryll Hill (left knee), St. John’s has relied far more of late on its frontcourt. And Spears is quickly blossoming into a future league force.

The 6-foot-10, 256-pound transfer from Highland Community College in Illinois cut apart both Georgetown sophomore center Roy Hibbert and sophomore power forward Jeff Green — the former was a step slow and the latter a few pounds light.

Flexing his coaching acumen for the Garden crowd, Georgetown coach John Thompson III inserted rarely used walk-on Amadou Kilkenny-Diaw, a 6-9, 240-pound senior bruiser. And “AKD” responded by locking down the middle defensively during Georgetown’s run.

“It would be real easy to just talk about the way Darrel shot the ball, but I thought Amadou’s defense during that stretch was key,” said Thompson, who relied on Kilkenny-Diaw for the game’s last 14 minutes. “Amadou is a very good post defender. We put him in there, and our defense just got a little better, and all of a sudden the rebounds started bouncing our way.”

Sophomore point man Jon Wallace matched Diaw’s defensive intensity on the perimeter, and suddenly the Hoyas’ smaller, quicker, more athletic lineup of Wallace, Diaw, Owens, Green and starting off-guard Ashanti Cook found the formula, forcing six turnovers from the Red Storm during the deciding 16-0 run, with many of those miscues leading directly to Georgetown points.

Perhaps the only negative for the Hoyas is the continued spotty play of Green, last season’s co-Big East rookie of the year. Green finished with 11 points and five rebounds but at times looked horrible on the defensive end and committed four turnovers. The 6-10 forward still doesn’t have a double-double on his resume this season.

“I’m not concerned about Jeff or Roy. St. John’s was determined to take away our interior guys, so we had to shift the offensive focus outside,” said Thompson, who watched his team shoot 58.1 percent from the field. “They gave us open looks from the perimeter, and we took advantage. What Darrel did isn’t really all that abnormal for him. The kid can shoot.”

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