Sunday, January 6, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 01/05/19: St. John's and Georgetown, A Basketball Day, Busy Day at Christy and Everett's

1. It's been many years since I watched so much college basketball in one day. Byrdman and Norm both alerted me to the fact that St. John's and Georgetown would be squaring off at 10 o'clock across 8th St. NW from the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.  I felt a long slumbering excitement awaken in me. It had been over thirty years since I'd watched St. John's play Georgetown. Both teams are coached by players from those stellar teams in 1981-85, St. John's by Chris Mullin and Georgetown by Patrick Ewing.

I flipped on the game, knowing already that I love St. John's style of play: aggressive, fast, sharp shooting, and daring on defense. They aren't a big team, but they are quick and tenacious both offensively and defensively. I quickly learned that Georgetown had a great size advantage, especially down low, and especially with their senior center, Jessie Govan.

In the end, St. John's quick hands, tough defense, ability to create Georgetown turnovers, and sharp shooting prevailed and the Johnnies beat Georgetown in overtime, 97-94.

It was a breathtaking game, much of it featuring St. John's clawing from behind to stay close after Georgetown had raced out to some double figure leads. St. John's guard, Shamorie Ponds (37 points) is this team's leader, but the other players, especially Justin Simon, Marvin Clark, Mustapha Heron, and LJ Figueroa supported Ponds with timely scoring and some superb defensive plays.

2. I watched parts of several other games: in a game I thought would be tighter, Virginia pasted Florida State; Iowa State upset Kansas;  I peeked in to see parts of  UCLA defeating Cal, mainly to see how UCLA was doing in the wake of their team's recent turmoil and the in-season firing of their coach, Steve Alford; late in the afternoon, Oregon and Oregon State played for the 351st time, starting in 1902, and OSU beat the injury hampered Ducks, 77-72. In all these games, two players stood out: Virginia's sharp shooting guard, Kyle Guy and a former Virginia Cavalier, now playing for Iowa State, the versatile and experienced senior guard, Marial Shayok.

3. It was a busy day over at Christy and Everett's today. Paul and Carol helped them move a dresser out of their bedroom, helped them clean up that room, and rearrange it. Yesterday, Everett went to see NP Linda Jo Yawn and discovered that when he fell on Christmas Eve, he fractured (at least) four ribs. LJ Yawn also discovered an internal infection that has hampered him. She gave him two pain killing shots, prescribed a pain killer (not an opioid), and prescribed an antibiotic.

I went over to Christy and Everett's around six to watch about 75% of the Zags' rout of Santa Clara, 91-48. Christy was tired after all joining Carol and Paul to do the house project and Everett was still, engaged in the game, and seemed in less pain that he has been over the last nearly two weeks.

I tried to imagine a game between St. John's and Gonzaga and, for now, couldn't do it. It's hard to know, while watching Gonzaga play teams like Santa Clara, who are no match for them, how the Zags, now at full strength with Tillie and Crandall back, would play against an athletic team like St. John's. At less than full strength, the Zags played well against Duke and Tennessee, but played less well against North Carolina. I think we'll have to wait until the NCAA tournament to see the Zags face a tough test again.

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