DePaul Surges in Second Half Past St. John's

Whatever Blue Demons coach Jerry Wainwright said to his team during halftime it certainly wasn't rated PG, but it was effective as DePaul came back from an eight point halftime deficit to surge past St. John's 71-63.

DePaul outscored St. John's 44-28 in the second half of this basketball contest in Rosemont tonight. "In the first half we controlled tempo and we got some loose balls and made some good plays and got a lead there," said St. John's coach Norm Roberts. "I thought it was the energy plays that really helped us in the first half. In the second half, give them a lot of credit they got the energy plays, got some offensive rebounds, we struggled handling the ball. We turned it over way too many times to give them easy opportunities."

"I think some guys relaxed because we had a lead at halftime," said Red Storm guard Eugene Lawrence, who finished with 16 points. If St. John's relaxed it had to be because they did not know that DePaul has been a second half team all year. The Blue Demons have now outscored their opponents 723-615 in the second half this season.

Trailing 38-29 early in the second half, the Blue Demons went on a 18-0 run. The run was keyed by six points by senior center Keith Butler, who started his second consecutive game, five points from freshman Will Walker, and five points from senior Marcus Heard.

"When you're down in the first half, you always need a second half like that," said Butler, who contributed six points, two blocked shots, and three rebounds in 19 minutes of play.

Walker contributed nine points off the bench for DePaul. During a stretch in the second half, sophomore Jabari Currie ran the point, while Walker played shooting guard. "I wanted to keep penetrating and get my teammates involved," said Currie, who finished with six points and six assists.

"I need more scoring out of Will Walker, because he is going to get shots," said Wainwright. "I want him to be really aggressive, and in order to do that a lot of times you have to play off the ball."

Sophomore forward Wilson Chandler led the way for DePaul with 15 points, 11 of which came in the second half after spending time on the bench in foul trouble. "I had opportunities to score in the first half, I just didn't execute," said Chandler. "I just need to play harder and more aggressive and that's what I did in the second half."

The Blue Demons featured depth and balanced scoring in this win. DePaul's bench outscored St. John's 38-24. Draelon Burns chipped in with 14 points off the bench. While senior Marcus Heard had seven points and eight rebounds in a reserve role.

The Blue Demons (12-7, 3-2 Big East) avenged a 64-53 loss to St. John's (10-8, 1-4) back on Jan. 3rd. The Red Storm have now lost four straight since that game. Avery Patterson led all scorers with 19 points for St. John's coming off the bench. Sammy Mejia scored 12 points all in the first half for the Red Storm. Mejia focused his efforts in the second half on defense by holding Patterson to six points in the half.

Wainwright lit into his team at halftime more than at any other game this year. "Usually I yell to our players, I yelled at them at half," said Wainwright. "I just challenged them to be Big East players at halftime."

DePaul now looks to improve it's Big East record and add to it's resume for a NCAA tournament berth with a matchup with rival Louisville on Saturday morning.

Game Notes from DePaul Sports Information

Marcus Heard made the 100th appearance of his career. He is now one of two active DePaul players to have played in 100 games for DePaul joining classmate Sammy Mejia. Senior Keith Butler has played in 104 collegiate games, 12 for DePaul.

Will Walker's second half 3pt. field goal snapped a personal 0-for-9 skid.

Sammy Mejia moved into ninth place on DePaul's all-time assists list and now has 358 career assists.

DePaul has outscored opponents 723-615 in the second half this season including a 44-28 advantage tonight.

Jabari Currie had a season-high six assists.

DePaul held St. John's to three shot clock violations in the game.

The Blue Demons are now 11-0 when leading with 5:00 remaining and improved to 3-4 when trailing at halftime.

This is the first time DePaul has been over .500 in BIG EAST play.

DePaul improves to 13-9 on the series with St. John's.

Official Box Score

Postgame Audio

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