DePaul Blue Demons vs. St. John's Red Storm – Monday, February 20th, 8 p.m. Central – Carnesecca Arena, Queens, New York
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After losing a heartbreaking game on Saturday to Louisville in overtime (90-82), the DePaul Blue Demons (11-15, 2-12) will make a quick turnaround and travel to Queens, New York to take on the St. John's Red Storm (11-16, 4-10) on Monday night.
Monday's matchup is a rematch of a game played on February 1, when the Demons dropped an 87-81 decision at Allstate Arena.
St. John's is fresh off a victory over UCLA, 66-63, on Saturday in a non-conference game. Incidentally, the Red Storm have not won a Big East contest since they beat the Blue Demons 19 days ago. Aside from the UCLA victory, St. John's has dropped their last four games while Associate head coach Mike Dunlap continues to fill in for head coach Steve Lavin.
The Red Storm are an extremely young bunch with a rotation consisting of freshmen and one junior college transfer. In fact, after a few defections, St. John's is now down to only six scholarship players as the team is running on fumes.
Although young and short on depth, the Johnnies have a roster long on talent. St. John's is led by freshmen D'Angelo Harrison and Moe Harkless. They combine for nearly 32 points a game and the duo are strong contenders for Big East Rookie of the Year.
DePaul is now losers of six straight, and outside of the loss at UConn, the Demons have come awfully close to winning on many occasions, including the first matchup with St. John's a few weeks ago. DePaul would storm out of the gate in the first matchup until St. John's press disrupted DePaul's rhythm. That and of course Harrison knocking down seven three pointers were DePaul's major downfall.
After a quick turnaround for both squads, DePaul has to use their depth to their advantage in this contest. DePaul has to ratchet up their defense and make a concentrated effort to work the glass and not let St. John's get second chance opportunities.
After struggling for a few games it was nice to see Brandon Young put up a solid game on Saturday as he scored 27 points with five assists. Leading scorer for the Demons - Cleveland Melvin (17.7) also put up a double-double on Saturday with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Most inspiring for DePaul on Saturday, though, might have been the play of Donnavan Kirk, who scored 11 points in 34 minutes. If the Demons can get an inside presence it will open up the floor for playmakers like Young, Melvin and Jamee Crockett.
With only four regular season games left, this contest with St. John's and Saturday's game with Providence represent a chance for the Demons to secure a real victory and not those of the moral variety.
After the tough loss to Louisville, Oliver Purnell summed up the direction the Blue Demons are headed.
"If we play our style of basketball," Purnell said. "And (we) are aggressive, and take that on to the next game and down the stretch, we're going to win some games."
The Last Time
Earlier this month on February 1st, the Red Storm defeated the Blue Demons 87-81 at Allstate Arena.
D'Angelo Harrison shot seven of 11 from beyond the arc and poured in 29 points to lead all scorers and take down DePaul.
St. John's had four players finish in double-figures. God's Gift Achiuwa added 15 points off the bench. Chicagoan Phil Greene scored 14 pts. and Amir Garrett contributed 12 points in the winning effort.
Turnovers proved costly for the Blue Demons. St. John's managed to score 25 points off of 18 DePaul turnovers.
Cleveland Melvin led the way for DePaul with a double-double of 22 points and 11 rebounds. Brandon Young recorded his first career double-double with 13 points and 11 assists.
One bright spot for DePaul was Moses Morgan's contributions off the bench. Morgan shot five of nine from beyond the arc to finish the night with 19 points.
The Blue Demons were without the services of senior guard Jeremiah Kelly who was a late scratch from the starting lineup.
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
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
30 Jamal White JR Guard 6-4 200 1V Roosevelt, N.Y./Roosevelt/LIU
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