After St. John's got blown out by Syracuse at the Garden on February 24th, the table was set for a closing run that would guarantee the end of Norm Roberts on the sideline. The Red Storm were so bad against the Orange and got thumped so soundly that there was good reason to think they wouldn't win another game all season, even with a game against winless DePaul next on the schedule.
But they recovered, and beat the hapless Blue Demons for their first Big East road win in ages, and then showed a little more respect for the Garden on Tuesday night against Georgetown. They fell 15 points down with 10 minutes to play in the game and scored just five points in the first 13 minutes of the second half, yet they kept plugging away until the game came back to them. When it did, they took advantage and won 59-56 in overtime.
A win at Notre Dame on Friday would give St. John's seven league wins and a .500 record overall for the regular season. Their next game at the Garden will be in the Big East Tournament's first round, and they've beaten each of their potential opponents already this season. After Tuesday night, there's renewed reason to believe.
"One of the best games I've been a part of as a coach," Norm Roberts said. "I'm really proud of my guys. They showed tremendous character and toughness ... "It's March. Anything can happen."
They also showed that they'll play for Roberts, which can be taken as a blessing or a curse. If you believe that Roberts isn't a good coach and hasn't recruited good players, you were rooting for St. John's to lose on Wednesday night so that it would grease the skids toward a new coach. If you feel that there have been steps taken in the right direction, however, seeing a team of sophomores battling back against even a mediocre Georgetown team would affirm your belief that there are better days ahead.