DePaul vs. St. John's Game Preview

The Blue Demons are undefeated on Wednesday nights this season. DePaul has a chance to keep that streak going with a Wednesday night matchup at Allstate Arena against the Red Storm of St. John's. We here from DePaul coach Oliver Purnell in this preview.

Key Information

DePaul Blue Demons vs. St. John's – Wednesday, February 1st, 7:30 p.m. Central – Allstate Arena, Rosemont, Illinois

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Game Preview

After grabbing a 68-64 victory on the road last week at Rutgers, DePaul (11-9, 2-6) will be looking for a Big East winning streak when they entertain the St. John's Red Storm (9-12, 3-6) on Wednesday night.

While the Red Storm will be down their head coach (Steve Lavin) once again, his understudy Mike Dunlap has his young team on the upswing. St. John's is coming off a 83-76 loss at Duke on Saturday, but prior to that the Red Storm easily defeated West Virginia 78-62 at Madison Square Garden last Wednesday.

"They're playing better," said DePaul coach Oliver Purnell. "Two games ago, they beat West Virginia at home pretty soundly and then they played Duke a close game. They're playing better. They're young and athletic, but we do have a good road win under our belts and obviously we'd like to go back-to-back with a good home win and get something going in the Big East because you've got Syracuse and the rest. Everybody's kind of jumbled up and we'd like to get up in the middle of it."

St. John's is a very young but equally talented team. The Red Storm roll out a starting five consisting of all freshmen. Leading the way for St. John's is 6-8 freshman forward Maurice ‘Moe' Harkless.

Harkless is coming of a great week in which he nabbed Big East Rookie of the Week honors. For the week, Harkless averaged 26.5 points and 13 rebounds. Harkless leads all Big East rookies in scoring (16.6 PPG) while placing seventh overall in the league. Harkless also leads his team in rebounding (8.8 RPG), which places him in fifth in the league.

Needless to say, Harkless has the inside track for Big East Rookie of the Year.

But the Johnnies are not all Harkless. The Red Storm also get contributions from a throng of freshmen including D'Angelo Harrison and God's Gift Achiuwa.

Harrison is second on the team in scoring (15.8 PPG), while Achiuwa chips in with 10.3 PPG and 6.4 RPG.

The good news for DePaul is that this St. Johns' team is not a particularly big team. While we know DePaul is a weak rebounding team, (-7.1 in rebounding margin) ranking 16th in the Big East, St. Johns is not that much better coming in at 15th in the league (-2.9 rebounding margin).

St. Johns' is neither proficient in scoring the ball (66.7 PPG), placing 15th in the Big East in scoring, nor defending as they give up 68.3 points a game (which is good for 14th in the league).

So, this is a matchup that DePaul can do well in. It's imperative that DePaul gets some easy looks and gets their press to harass St. John's young guards.

We all know that DePaul is carried by their two sophomore stars in Cleveland Melvin (17.8 PPG and 6.3 RPG) and Brandon Young (16 PPG and 4.6 APG), but for the Demons to have sustained success they need to get production outside of them.

Enter Jamee Crockett. The 6-4 freshman guard/forward is starting to earn his keep and is coming off a terrific performance at Rutgers in which he scored a career-high 20 points on 5 of 5 shooting from three-point land in the second half. His strong play of late (17.5 PPG in his last two games) should garner Crockett some more playing time going forward. His energy and activeness has brought a new dimension to the Blue Demons.

"Jamee Crockett, has been doing it," said Melvin. "He's been scoring, helping us score, and just doing him out there. He's been doing a good job so far."

For two teams trying to escape the bottom tier of the standings, Wednesday's game presents a chance for the winner to make some headway up the ladder in the Big East.

St. John's Roster

No. Name Yr. Pos. Ht. Wt. EXP Hometown/High School/Previous School

3 God's Gift Achiuwa JR Forward 6-8 236 J.C. Port Harcourt, R.S., Nigeria//Erie C.C. (N.Y.)

23 Anteh Aryee FR Guard/Forward 6-2 183 H.S. Fairburn, Ga./Arlington Christian

55 Boris Brakalov SR Guard 6-2 185 H.S. Sofia, Bulgaria/National Trade and Banking

0 Jamal Branch FR Guard 6-3 169 H.S. Kansas City, Mo./Grace Preparatory Academy (Texas)/Texas A&M

12 Trai Donaldson FR Guard 6-0 165 H.S. Tampa, Fla./Alonso

22 Amir Garrett FR Forward 6-6 190 H.S. Los Angeles, Calif./Bridgton Academy (Maine)

1 Phil Greene FR Guard 6-2 180 H.S. Chicago, Ill./IMG Academy (Fla.)

4 Moe Harkless FR Guard/Forward 6-8 208 H.S. Queens, N.Y./South Kent (Conn.)

11 D'Angelo Harrison FR Guard 6-3 202 H.S. Missouri City, Texas/Dulles

15 Sir'Dominic Pointer FR Guard/Forward 6-5 196 H.S. Detroit, Mich./Quality Education Academy (N.C.)

25 Gerard Rivers FR Guard 6-0 175 H.S. Lancaster, Calif./Paraclete

40 Sam Sealy FR Forward 6-8 195 H.S. Medford, N.Y./Longwood

31 Malik Stith JR Guard 5-11 187 2V Hempstead, N.Y./Bridgton Academy (Maine)

30 Jamal White JR Guard 6-4 200 1V Roosevelt, N.Y./Roosevelt/LIU

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