DePaul Blue Demons vs. St. John's Red Storm – Tuesday, January 16, 2007 – 7:30 p.m. CST – Allstate Arena, Rosemont, Illinois
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For the first time this year, DePaul will play an opponent for the second time as St. John's arrives in Rosemont on Tuesday night. DePaul will be out for revenge and this time the setting will be Allstate Arena, as DePaul previously opened Big East play at Madison Square Garden with a 64-53 setback at the hands of the Red Storm. St. John's is one of the three teams DePaul must play twice with Notre Dame and South Florida being the others. Since the loss to the Red Storm, DePaul has regrouped and now spot a 2-2 Big East record, and are 11-7 overall. Their latest victory was a clinic in defensive intensity as DePaul clobbered Rutgers 60-37 on Saturday afternoon in New Jersey. Since the loss to St. John's, DePaul has only lost to sixth ranked Pittsburgh at home as well as winning at Villanova.
St. John's on the other hand is reeling. The Red Storm never gained any momentum after their victory over the Blue Demons dropping their last three Big East games to fall to 1-3, and 10-7 overall. Their latest setback was to Connecticut in a 68-59 defeat on Saturday at home.
St. John's should come in hungry knowing they beat DePaul earlier and will try to duplicate that with a strategic game plan. St. John's defense made DePaul's offense look brutal as they limited the Blue Demons to 32.8 shooting from the field and a mere 53 points. The Red Storm shadowed DePaul's leading scorer Sammy Mejia (15.1 ppg) all night and forced him to shoot 3-14 and finish with eight points. Look for St. John's head coach Norm Roberts to devise a similar plan to limit Mejia. DePaul's second leading scorer Wilson Chandler (14.8 ppg) didn't particularly have a good game either shooting 5-12 although he did finish with a game high 15 points. Even though St. John's played a great game on defense, DePaul did not help themselves at the charity stripe that night only connecting on 13 on 25 attempts. Don't be surprised if Roberts employs some sort of instructions to his team to force DePaul to the line. However, DePaul has done a decent job at the line lately connecting on 21 of their last 29 attempts.
One of DePaul's weaknesses this season has been the play of the post players. Conversely, that is a strength for St. John's. Again, look for St. John's leading scorer 6-10 senior forward/center Lamont Hamilton (13.4 and 6.7 rpg) to get many looks and frustrate DePaul's big men. DePaul will throw two or three big guys at Hamilton and perhaps use up their allotment of fouls. Expect DePaul head coach Jerry Wainwright to use more of Keith Butler this time, as Butler is coming off a season high of eight points at. Rutgers. Butler must cut down on the turnovers though as he had four in the game at Rutgers. Besides Butler, expect to see Wesley Green and Lorenzo Thompson get some time and try to neutralize Hamilton.
Oddly in the last game against DePaul, St. John's won despite no player getting over double digits in points. That's a testament to the balance the Red Storm brings. The Red Storm also have two other players in double figures in points in 6-4 junior Avery Patterson (11.9 ppg) and 6-7 sophomore Anthony Mason Jr. (11.1 ppg). These two can get hot at any moment especially Patterson (fifth in the Big East with 2.65 three's made per game), so expect DePaul to tighten up on perimeter defense.
As it was a homecoming for Mejia, Karron Clarke, and Cliff Clinkscales in the first game, the same can be said this time for St .John's as they boast Chicago native (Dunbar High) Aaron Spears. Spears is a 6-10 senior forward/center who is in his second year with the Red Storm after spending two years at Illinois (one being his redshirt year) and one at Highland Community College. He is a banger who gave DePaul trouble in the first game with six points and four rebounds in 20 minutes of play. So, naturally Roberts will try to utilize Spears in hopes he can have a happy homecoming.
These two teams bring it defensively, so whichever teams executes it's offensive game plan more efficiently will probably come away victorious. Free throw shooting will also prove to be vital. After this game, DePaul will have another home contest on Saturday versus Louisville, so expect DePaul to come out fired to defend their home court, avenge their loss to the Red Storm, and start a nice winning streak.
St. John's Roster
No. Name Cl.-Exp Pos. Ht. Wt. Home, High School, Prev. School
1 Qa'rraan Calhoun FR-HS F 6-8 215 Hazlet, N.J., Raritan, Bridgton Academy (Maine)
2 Anthony Mason Jr. SO-1V F 6-7 207 Memphis, Tenn., Fairley
3 Daryll Hill SR-3V G 6-0 172 Queens, N.Y., Cardozo, Milford Academy (Conn.)
4 Eugene Lawrence JR-2V G 6-1 225 Brooklyn, N.Y., Lincoln
5 Larry Wright FR-HS G 6-2 159 Saginaw, Mich., Saginaw
10 Devin Mayo SR-3V G 6-0 160 Upper Marlboro, Md., Clinton Christian
11 Tomas Jasiulionis SO-1V C 6-11 249 Richmond, Va., Trinity Episcopal
15 Avery Patterson JR-TR G 6-4 184 Kannapolis, N.C., A.L. Brown, Iowa Western C.C.
22 Ricky Torres SO-1V G 6-5 222 Bronx, N.Y., St. Raymond's
30 Liam Biesty JR-1V G 6-0 175 Brooklyn, N.Y., Poly Prep
33 Otoja Abit JR-2V F 6-6 187 Woodside, N.Y., Archbishop Molloy
34 Lamont Hamilton SR-3V F 6-10 255 Brooklyn, N.Y., North Bridgton Academy (Maine)
40 Aaron Spears SR-1V F 6-10 245 Chicago, Ill., Dunbar, Highland C.C.
45 Adam Laitsas JR-1V F 6-3 206 Westchester, Calif., Westchester
55 Rob Thomas FR-HS F 6-6 235 New York, N.Y., South Kent (Conn.)
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