The Red Storm proceeded to go on a 27-7 run and take control of the game, while never looking back in a 76-51 thrashing of DePaul.
St. John's (18-9-10-5) showed their veteran moxie and swarmed DePaul (7-20, 1-14) with their stifling pressure and zone defense. Old habits reappeared as DePaul was manhandled in the paint, with St. John's scoring 42 points in the paint to DePaul's 18 and were crushed on the boards 43-29.
It was yet another tough night shooting the ball for the Demons as they shot a measly 30.9% from the floor. Conversely, St. John's shot an efficient 54.4 percent and had 19 fast break points to DePaul's zero.
DePaul head coach Oliver Purnell was none too pleased with the effort DePaul had fought so hard to put in the past.
"We didn't play well at all," Purnell said. "Certainly not was well as we played in the last four or five games. But, I give all the credit to (St. John's), they made all the plays."
Ever since the first media timeout, DePaul had no answer to St. John's defense and would end up going into the half down 15.
The second half was no different as St. John's built on their halftime margin, and once had a lead of 30 with 10:39 to go in the game.
"(St. John's) showed no signs of a letup tonight," added Purnell. "That's probably the best zone defense we've seen all year. They are playing with a lot of confidence."
To say it was a frustrating night would be an understatement. DePaul's bench was called for two technical fouls and Purnell was not happy with the way the game was being called.
St. John's looks all but assured to be part of the NCAA Tournament. Head coach Steve Lavin was happy his team responded to being ranked for the first time while not letting up on their opponent.
"The challenge tonight was if we would sustain a level of focus, effort and execution for the entire game," Lavin said. "I thought this was the biggest game of the year because there's a natural tendency and nature to exhale, or be complacent, when we hit some benchmarks like (reaching) the Top 25"
DePaul was led by Cleveland Melvin and his team leading 16 points. No other Demon scored in double figures.
St. John's was once again led by Dwight Hardy and his game high 21 points.
DePaul will now return back home to take on South Florida on Saturday in a game to stay out of the Big East basement.
Red Storm Wash Away Demons
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