DePaul Blue Demons (9-8, 1-3) vs. St. John's Red Storm (9-6, 0-3) – Tuesday, January 14th, 6:00 p.m. Central – Allstate Arena, Rosemont, Illinois
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Radio – WSCR AM 670
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The phrase "must win" is one of the most overused terms in sports. It does apply to St. John's who at 0-3 are frantically in search of their first Big East win of the season as they come into Allstate Arena on Tuesday night. Many St. John's players figure this game might be their best chance to end their losing streak.
"This is a team that will come in very, very hungry," said DePaul coach Oliver Purnell. "They're coming here loaded for bear. So we have to match their intensity and their hunger."
For DePaul, this game represents an opportunity to build on last week's double overtime win at Butler and show that game wasn't just a one-time thing.
St. John's presents an athletic bunch that is somehow struggling to win games in the Big East.
"They're the most athletic team in the league," Purnell told WSCR Radio. "They have the best collection of athletes in the Big East. They're just very, very talented. They're starting a freshman guard (Rysheed Jordan) now who's very talented. They've got Phil Greene who's given us problems in the past at the point. They were athletic last year, but now they are more experienced and are very, very good. We're going to have to play well as a team and be very smart to beat them."
St. John's coach Steve Lavin has been searching for the right lineup combination. He even tried starting walkon Khadim Ndiaye and seldom used Felix Balamou against Georgetown. That didn't work, as the Red Storm trailed the Hoyas by as much as 33 points in that contest.
St. John's is a dangerous team. If they can ever get it together and get this team to gel, they can get on a roll in the Big East.
Saturday's 74-67 loss to Villanova at Madison Square Garden was a defensive improvement for the Red Storm. They managed to hold the Wildcats to 35.2 percent shooting.
Thanks to extraordinary shotblocker Chris Obekpa, St. John's leads the Big East in blocked shots with 8.8 blocks per game.
The Red Storm are also good at taking care of the basketball. They have the lowest turnover rate in the conference with 10 turnovers per game.
However, St. John's isn't getting the job done on the glass. The Red Storm are dead last in the league in rebounding margin at +0.4 rebounds per game.
The biggest question surrounding St. John's is whether leading scorer (18.7 points per game) D'Angelo Harrison will play on Tuesday night or not? Harrison suffered a mild concusion in the Villanova game on Saturday and did not participate in Monday's practice. He will be a game time decision for Tuesday's game.
Lavin has described his team as "out of whack" and "out of sync". They may be even more of out of sync without Harrison in the lineup.
If Harrison doesn't play, St. John's will have to rely on the interior play of sophomore forward Jakarr Sampson, who averages 11.9 ppg and 6.7 rebounds per game.
The Last Time
On January 30, 2013 at Carnesecca Arena in Queens, New York, DePaul succumbed to St. John's in overtime of a 79-74 defeat.
Junior guard Brandon Young led all scorers with 21 points. Jamee Crockett contributed 14 points and junior forward Cleveland Melvin added a double-double of 10 points and 13 rebounds.
D'Angelo Harrison led the Red Storm with 17 points. Phil Greene and JaKarr Sampson added 13 points apiece. Jamal Branch and Sir'Dominic Pointer also chipped in 11 points apiece.
St. John's Roster
NO. NAME POS. HT. WT. CL.-EXP. HOMETOWN (HIGH SCHOOL/PREVIOUS SCHOOL)
0 Jamal Branch G 6-3 175 Jr.-1V Kansas City, Mo. (Grace Prep. Acad./Texas A&M)
1 Phil Greene IV G 6-2 189 Jr.-2V Chicago, Ill. (IMG Academy (Fla.)
2 Marc-Antoine Bourgault G/F 6-7 206 Sr.-1V Saint-Malo, France (N.D. Prep./Monroe Coll. (N.Y.)
3 God'sgift Achiuwa F 6-8 230 Gr.-1V Port Harcourt, Nigeria (Erie C.C. (N.Y.)
4 Christian Jones F 6-7 225 So.-1V Arlington, Texas (IMG Academy (Fla.)
5 David Lipscomb G 6-2 175 So.-1V Riverdale, Ga. (Wheeler)
10 Max Hooper G/F 6-6 206 So.-Tr. Carmel Valley, Calif. (Brewster Acad. (N.H.)/Harvard)
11 D'Angelo Harrison G 6-4 204 Jr.-2V Missouri City, Texas (Dulles)
12 Chris Obekpa C 6-9 240 So.-1V Makurdi, Nigeria (Our Savior New American (N.Y.)
14 JaKarr Sampson F 6-9 214 So.-1V Akron, Ohio (Brewster Academy (N.H.)
15 Sir'Dominic Pointer G/F 6-5 196 Jr.-2V Detroit, Mich. (Quality Education Academy (N.C.)
23 Rysheed Jordan G 6-4 185 Fr.-H.S. Phildelphia, Pa. (Roberts Vaux)
24 Felix Balamou G 6-4 199 So.-1V Conakry, Guinea (Our Savior New American (N.Y.)
33 Orlando Sanchez F 6-9 232 Sr.-J.C. Nagua, D.R. (Colegio Nueva Luz/Monroe Coll. (N.Y.)
35 Khadim Ndiaye F 6-6 195 Jr.-1V Queens, N.Y. (Christ the King/Chestnut Hill College)
DePaul vs. St. John's Game Preview
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