DePaul Blue Demons (12-13, 6-6) vs. St. John’s (15-8, 4-6) – Wednesday February 11th, 8:00 p.m. Central – Carnesecca Arena, Queens, New York
Television – CBS Sports Network
Radio – WSCR AM 670
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With one season sweep already in their back pocket, DePaul (12-13, 6-6) will look to achieve another one Wednesday when they travel to Queens for a rematch with the St. John's Red Storm (15-8, 4-6). The Demons have already beaten the Red Storm, when DePaul won 71-67 in overtime at Allstate Arena back in January.
For a Demons squad that is playing with house money, considering they almost have no shot to make the NCAA Tournament outside of winning the Big East Tournament, they come onto this game trying to extinguish St. John's chances of making the Big Dance. With the Red Storm possessing a solid RPI (40 according to KenPom.com) and a fine overall record, they still have a shot at the tournament. If the Red Storm have ideas of making the tournament, though, it would behoove them to get to .500 in conference play for their chances to look better.
Suffice to say, this is an important game for St. John’s and they will be the team with all the pressure on them. For DePaul, they just want to get better while also trying to lock up a top-six spot (and a bye) in the Big East Tournament.
It's a big game for both squads, so expect some major intensity in this contest. St. John's comes into this game after beating Creighton at Madison Square Garden, 84-66, on Saturday. Meanwhile, DePaul is coming off a loss at Butler, 83-73, on Saturday.
While St. John's beat Creighton in their last game, it is their loss to Butler in the previous game that left a bad taste in a lot of people's minds, as stud center and defensive presence extraordinaire Chris Obekpa was tossed from the game after throwing an elbow to the head of Tyler Wideman of Butler. St. John's head coach Steve Lavin sat Obekpa for most of the Creighton game as punishment, but Obekpa also got hurt in the game and is questionable (game-time decision) for Wednesday's game. Obekpa is tied for the team lead in rebounding (7.3) while leading the Red Storm and the Big East in blocks (3.3 bpg— which is also fourth in the country.)
If you want to stop St. John's it all starts with trying to slow down their dynamic backcourt of senior guard D'Angelo Harrison (18.6 ppg) and sophomore guard Rysheed Jordan (14.1 ppg). They both can drive to the basket, dish the rock as well as shoot it from the perimeter. If DePaul can limit penetration and force St. John's into jump shots than DePaul will be set up for success.
The Red Storm also get great production from a couple of other key seniors in Sir'Dominic Pointer and Phil Greene IV. Pointer could be considered St. John's glue guy, as he does many things well on the basketball court (flops notwithstanding). He averages 12.4 points per game, and leads the team in assists (3.2 apg), steals (2.0 spg), while being tied for team lead in rebounding (7.3 rpg) with Obekpa. Greene IV is the fourth Johnnie in double-figures in scoring with 12.3 points per game.
In fact, DePaul and St. John's are the only two teams in the Big East with four of their players ranking in the top-25 in scoring. Harrison, by the way, ranks second in the league in scoring.
However, St. John's bread and butter is likely their defense, as they rank first in the league in field-goal percentage defense (limiting teams to just .397 shooting from the floor). And behind Obekpa, the Red Storm, predictably, lead the league in blocked shots (averaging 6.7 per game).
This game will likely come down to who dictates tempo and imposes their will the most. In all, it should be an important game, as both squads have something to prove.
The Last Time
On January 18, 2015 at Allstate Arena, the Blue Demons captured a 71-67 overtime victory over the Red Storm.
It started out poorly for DePaul who were held to a season-low 19 points in the first half and trailed by 10 points going into the intermission.
The Blue Demons then came out of the locker room inspired to start the second half.
DePaul was led by a game high 20 points from sophomore guard Billy Garrett, Jr. Garrett also went a perfect 13 for 13 from the free throw line.
Myke Henry recorded a double-double of 19 points and 12 rebounds despite playing much of the second half and the overtime period with four fouls.
One key for the Blue Demons in a marathon game was their bench scoring. DePaul’s bench outscored St. John’s 18-5. Junior guard Aaron Simpson contributed with 13 points off the bench.
St. John’s was led by senior guard Phil Greene, IV and sophomore Rysheed Jordan, who scored 17 points apiece. DePaul managed to hold senior guard D’Angelo Harrison below his average with just 11 points. Sir’Dominic Pointer added 11 points before fouling out in the second half.
St. John’s Roster
No. Name Yr. Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown/High School/Previous School
14 Amar Alibegovic FR Forward 6-9 230 Rome, Italy/Istituto Tecnico Minerva
10 Felix Balamou JR Guard 6-4 192 Conakry, Guinea/Our Savior New American (N.Y.)
0 Jamal Branch SR Guard 6-3 169 Kansas City, Mo./Grace Preparatory Academy (Texas)/Texas A&M
31 Adonis De La Rosa FR Center 7-0 322 Bronx, N.Y./Christ The King
34 Joey De La Rosa SR Center 6-11 249 Bronx, N.Y./Montverde Academy/FIU
1 Phil Greene IV SR Guard 6-2 187 Chicago, Ill./IMG Academy (Fla.)
25 Samuel Harris IV FR Guard 175 Tampa, Fla./Tampa Catholic
11 D'Angelo Harrison SR Guard 6-4 202 Missouri City, Texas/Dulles
22 Jay Henderson FR Guard 6-5 180 Orlando, Fla./Lake Highland Prep
4 Christian Jones RS SO Forward 6-7 230 Arlington, Texas/IMG Academy (Fla.)
23 Rysheed Jordan SO Guard 6-4 193 Philadelphia, Pa./Roberts Vaux
5 David Lipscomb RS SO Guard 6-2 180 Riverdale, Ga./Wheeler
35 Khadim Ndiaye SR Forward 6-6 199 Queens, New York/Christ The King
33 Olisa Nwachie FR Forward 6-7 225 Los Angeles, Calif./Fairfax
12 Chris Obekpa JR Forward/Center 6-10 236 Makurdi, Benue State, Nigeria/Our Savior New American (N.Y.)
15 Sir'Dominic Pointer SR Guard/Forward 6-6 192 Detroit, Mich./Quality Education Academy (N.C.)
2 Myles Stewart FR Guard 6-5 180 Los Angeles, Calif./Westchester
DePaul vs. St. John’s Game Preview
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