St. John's pulls away late in win over DePaul

While DePaul didn't play its finest game by any stretch against St. John's, they were nonetheless in the contest until the waning moments. However, it seemed every time DePaul (12-14, 6-7) made a run St. John’s (16-8, 5-6) always had an answer. St. John's used a late 9-0 run to make a 69-67 lead balloon to 78-67 with just 3:35 to go.

That run effectively sealed the game for St. John's as they outlasted DePaul, 86-78, before a crowd of 5,040 at Carnesseca Arena.

DePaul's defensive intensity and rebounding was clearly lacking on this night. The Demons allowed the Red Storm to shoot 51.9 percent from the field and an even-better 57.1 percent from three-point territory. DePaul was also killed on the boards, losing the rebounding battle, 43-27.

St. John's senior guard D'Angelo Harrison was simply on fire tonight and the Demons had absolutely no answer for him. Harrison led all scorers with 31 points on 10-14 shooting from the field and a sizzling 6-8 from three-point land, while also chipping in 10 rebounds.

DePaul coach Oliver Purnell said execution down the stretch and rebounding contributed greatly to the loss.

“In the second half we did a good job battling back tying the score, then we missed two offensive rebounds and that cost us,” Purnell said “Instead up going up a couple a points, we were down six before we knew it. We didn't go inside enough. When you pass up good shots and they get it going, you give them an opportunity in transition. Our transition defense was poor and that's what they thrived on.”

Indeed that was the case, as St. John's got 19 fast-break points to DePaul's four on the night. DePaul's 25 points off the bench to St. John's two was a key neutralizer and Tommy Hamilton was a big reason why. He scored a team-high 18 points (tied with Billy Garrett Jr.) to go with a team-high nine rebounds.

DePaul showed a lot of grit coming back down from 13 points with 14 minutes to go in the game. A Billy Garrett Jr. jumper with 8:16 left to go eventually tied the game at 62. Then St. John's would go on a 7-2 run before Jamee Crockett drilled a three-pointer to bring the Demons back 69-67 with 6:07 to go. It was then that St. John's would go on their aforementioned 9-0 run to essentially put the game away.

"We were pleased to get the win, but we made the game more interesting than I would have preferred,” said St. John's coach Steve Lavin after the game. “Our execution in the late stages of the game was not sharp, but overall I was happy with the team's effort and grit tonight."

Garrett (18 points), Crockett (17) and Myke Henry (13) were the other double-digit scorers for the Demons. For St. John's, they also got good games from Phil Greene IV (18 points), Sir'Dominic Pointer (15 points, a team-high 11 rebounds and five blocks) and Rysheed Jordan (15 points, seven rebounds and four assists).

DePaul will now be off for a week before taking on Providence next Wednesday.

Purnell is looking to move on and get his team ready for the next task at hand.

“We got to get ready for Providence," Purnell concluded. "We're coming down the stretch here and the same things are in play. We want to play well going into the (Big East) tournament and it will be interesting (how we finish).”

Postgame Notes from DePaul Sports Information: DePaul extended its streak to 670 straight games with a three-pointer... Jamee Crockett moved into 14th place on DePaul’s all-time three-point field goal list... St. John’s leads the all-time series, 19-16... the two sides split the regular-season series.

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