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DePaul vs. St. John’s Preview

The Blue Demons travel to the Big Apple to meet St. John’s on Martin Luther King Day. We preview the game in this report. 

Key Information 

DePaul Blue Demons (8-10, 1-4) vs. St. John’s Red Storm (8-11, 2-4) – Monday, January 16th, 3:30 p.m. Central – Carnesecca Arena, Queens, New York   

Television – Fox Sports 1 

Radio – WSCR AM 670

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St. John’s Basketball

Game Preview

DePaul is on the road again, and this time head coach Dave Leitao and the Blue Demons will be looking for revenge

After getting crushed at Marquette, 83-58, Saturday, DePaul now heads to Queens to take on the same St. John's Red Storm team that beat them, 79-73, almost two weeks ago at Allstate Arena. The game will be part of the Big East's annual marathon, which will also celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

St. John's, who also played on Saturday and lost to Villanova, 70-57, will at least have the comfort of playing at home. After beating DePaul on New Year's Day, St. John's has now dropped four conference games in a row, so they will be viewing this game as a way to get back on track.

St. John's is undoubtedly led by its freshman backcourt of Marcus LoVett and Shamorie Ponds. Both guards, who were recruited by DePaul, possess a scintillating set of skills.

LoVett leads the team (actually, tied with Ponds) in scoring (17.3) and assists (3.6). He also shoots a nifty 42.7 percent from three-point range. If you recall, it was LoVett who did most of the damage in the second half of the win over the Blue Demons when they first played. In that game, LoVett went for 22 points (7-13 from the field), while dishing out six assists.

Ponds, who is one of the early candidates for Big East Freshman of the Year, is also living up to his early press clippings. He averages 17.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game, the latter two statistics rank second on the team.

This lefty duo is hard to stop from getting into the lane. So DePaul will have to come prepared to stop these players from getting in their comfort zone.

Junior college transfer Bashir Ahmed is St. John's third double-digit scorer. The versatile wing averages 12.2 points, while chipping in 5.5 rebounds per game.

Figuring out St. John's is difficult, because it can be a different team depending on when you play them. This is a team that has beaten Butler, and Syracuse, yet have also lost to Delaware State and LIU-Brooklyn.

With St. John's now on the aforementioned four-game losing streak, and DePaul only possessing one Big East win, each team will try to use this as game to get back on the winning track.

The Blue Demons will draw the short stick in this matchup, though, as they will have had to go from Milwaukee back to Chicago on Saturday and then shortly after that head to New York City for the quick turnaround on Monday. Meanwhile, St. John's will have had been at home for nearly a week.

Anyway, when you measure in revenge and the need to compile some wins to gain some confidence, adrenaline can carry you a long way. That said, DePaul has to be careful with shot selection, as the Blue Demons have shot less than 40 percent in two of their last three games.

Plus, the Demons need their stars Billy Garrett Jr. and Eli Cain to step up, as they combined for just 19 points on 4-18 shooting from the field on Saturday. 

Whoever plays smarter basketball will have the edge in this one.

The Last Time 

On January 1st, 2017, the Blue Demons started off the new year with a competitive battle with the Red Storm, but didn’t have quite enough to keep up with the St. John’s offensive onslaught in the second half in a 79-73 loss in Rosemont. 

After leading by seven points at the half, DePaul gradually saw St. John’s chip away at the lead.

Second half turnovers were also costly for the Blue Demons. DePaul turned the ball over 11 times in the second half.

After shooting 40.6 percent overall in the first half, the Red Storm shot at a 56 percent clip in the second stanza.

The Blue Demons also contended with foul trouble in the second half.  Joe Hanel fouled out of the game while Levi Cook and Tre McCallum were hampered with foul fouls apiece.

DePaul had four players finish in double-figures.  

Eli Cain led the way for the Blue Demons with 18 points, but was hampered by a calf strain in the game’s final minutes.

Junior college transfer Tre’Darius McCallum recorded a near double-double of 14 points and nine rebounds.

Garrett contributed 13 points and Chris Harrison-Docks came off the bench to chip in with 12 points including three 3-pointers.

The backcourt duo of Marcus Lovett and Shamorie Ponds combined for 37 points.  LoVett led all scorers with 22 points on seven of 13 shooting.  Ponds scored 15 points and was five of 12 from the field.  

Darien Williams came off the bench for the Red Storm to add 12 points.  

St. John’s Roster

No. Name Yr. Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown/High School/Previous School
0 Malik Ellison SO Guard 6-6 215 Voorhees, N.J./Life Center Academy (N.J.)
1 Bashir Ahmed JR Guard/Forward 6-7 210 Bronx, N.Y.//Hutchinson Community College (Kan.)
2 Shamorie Ponds FR Guard 6-1 170 Brooklyn, N.Y./Thomas Jefferson
3 Amar Alibegovic JR Forward 6-9 240 Rome, Italy/Istituto Tecnico Minerva
4 Federico Mussini SO Guard 6-2 170 Reggio Emilia, Italy/Liceo Scientifico Aldo Moro
5 Justin Simon SO Guard 6-5 205 Temecula, Calif.//Arizona
10 Marvin Clark Jr. JR Forward 6-7 225 Kansas City, Mo.//Michigan State
11 Tariq Owens RS SO Forward 6-11 200 Odenton, Md.//Tennessee
12 Elijah Holifield SO Guard 6-3 185 Atlanta, Ga./Pace Academy
14 Kassoum Yakwe SO Forward 6-7 210 Bamako, Mali/Our Savior New American (N.Y.)
15 Marcus LoVett RS FR Guard 6-0 175 Fort Wayne, Ind./Morgan Park (Ill.)
20 Richard Freudenberg FR Forward 6-9 210 Munich, Germany/Luitpold-Gymnasium Munchen
23 Justin Cole FR Guard 6-2 190 Rockville Centre, N.Y./Archbishop Molloy
24 Brandon Lawrence FR Guard 6-2 175 Union City, Calif./Moreau Catholic
45 Darien Williams SR Forward 6-8 235 San Francisco, Calif.//City College of San Francisco

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