It was the kind of win worth bearing all of the college coaching headaches, and Patrick Ewing has endured his share of headaches this season.
That is probably why he called the Hoyas 73-72, who beat St. John in the garden on Sunday afternoon, "a season-critical win."
Surely it could be a kind of triumph that can shake up a team and spur great things on. The Hoyas (13: 9, 3: 6 in the Great East) were 50: 33 in the red at the start of the second half and could have been described as an afternoon. Nobody would have blamed them.
Georgetown played without top scorer Mac McClung, who suffered a foot injury and has been without a win in the last four Big East Road games. It looked like Super Bowl Sunday didn't have much to offer on TV.
When St. John's striker Josh Roberts missed a shot to give the Red Storm a 16:04 point lead of 17 points, the hosts were in speed control.
But the understaffed Hoyas, who shot 28.6 percent off the field in the first half, kept fighting and defending. Their pressure defense forced the Red Storm (13-10, 2-8) to make 12 sales in the second half (after they failed to do so in the first), which ultimately lost the game.
The final sales of the Red Storm were brutal. It came in the last seconds when Junior Point Guard Rasheen Dunn stumbled while trying to attack the basket and lost the ball without approaching a game-winning shot.
"They played the right games and we didn't play these games," said Johns coach Mike Anderson. "It's a hard, hard loss."
Credit Ewing and his team. The Garden gods did not disappoint the Knicks legend when the Hoyas ended a three-defeat streak.
"For me, this is a big win, a big win," said Ewing. Low  at some point my team kept fighting. They made plays again and again. For me, this is a season-decisive victory. I told them we have to build on that. "
Ewing has spent much of this season steering the Hoyas program in the right direction after a difficult start. Four players left the university or were released from the university in December after attacks, break-ins, and harassment hit a team that had high expectations of being promoted to the NCAA tournament in March this year. There were even concerns about Ewing's job status.
Bringing this team together and keeping them focused was perhaps the most difficult challenge in Ewing's short coaching career with his alma mater. But the Hoyas survive and beat St. Johns with two hand movements that play for minutes.
"After we had our episode in the middle of the season, I thought our boys would come together as a group," said Ewing. “We had a great schedule outside of the conference. When we came to the Great East, we took a step back. But we still have nine games to go. We have continued to build on this. "
Jahvon Blair led Georgetown with 23 points, while Jagan Mosely had 16. Omer Yurtseven, the 7-foot senior center, had 13, including the Hoyas' last go-head basket in a 10-second break. It was the first time since the middle of the first half that Georgetown took the lead.
"We just told everyone to keep playing and play-by-play, stop-by-stop, and we would just do it," said Blair. "We did that."
There is no schedule for McClung's return.
"I told the boys that we still have enough to be successful," said Ewing. "Boys have to get up. Jahvon rose and Omer played very well in the second half. We need everyone to do their part. "
While St. Johns has to figure out how everything fell apart so quickly on Sunday, Ewing sounded like a coach who had saved his season.
"We cannot take a step forward, achieve such a great win and go back," he said. "We just have to keep playing."