Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Chris Mullin outburst evokes memories of the old St. John's vs Georgetown rivalry at Madison Square Garden

It was — almost refreshingly — like the halcyon days of the Big East all over again when St. John's met Georgetown at Madison Square Garden Wednesday night especially when the Redmen's — I mean Red Storm's — head coach Chris Mullin had to be held back from going after the Hoyas bench in the second half of the opening game of this season's Big East Tournament.

Mullin stormed over to confront Georgetown coach John Thompson III after rough play between players under the basket escalated and probably rekindled the rough house style of play he remembers during the classic battles between the two teams back in the 80's.

With 8:35 left, and the eighth-seeded Johnnies holding a 59-55 lead in the hard fought game, a melee nearly broke out. After Amar Alibegovic fouled L.J. Peak hard on a drive, Peak got up, and got in Alibegovic’s face. Bradley Hayes followed by pushing Alibegovic. That was quickly broken up. But moments later, a fired up Mullin exchanged words with Peak then JT3 before being held back by his players. Alibegovic was assessed a flagrant one foul, and Mullin and Georgetown assistant coach Patrick Ewing Jr. were both given technical fouls.

Mullin's players responded by hanging on, 74-73, to give their second year coach his first postseason victory and the program it’s first Big East Tournament win since 2011. St. John’s will meet No. 1 Villanova in the quarterfinals Thursday at noon.

After the game, the two coaches shook hands like nothing happened but the names — Mullin, Thompson, Ewing — stirred up visions of Big East glory days past and might signal the resurgence of a new St. John's vs Georgetown era.

All we need is a little Carnesecca.

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