DePaul vs. St. John's Game Preview

WeAreDePaul.com previews Saturday's Big East showdown between the DePaul Blue Demons and the St. John's Red Storm at Carnesecca Arena in Queens, N.Y. on Saturday.

Key Information

DePaul Blue Demons vs. St. John's - Saturday, January 12th, 11:00 a.m. (Central) – Carnesecca Arena, Queens, NY

Television – ESPN Regional – WWME Channel 23 in Chicago, WWME can be found in Chicago on…
Comcast: Channel 223
Direct TV: Channel 23
Dish Network: Channel 23
RCN: Channel 14
WOW City: Channel 17
WOW Suburbs: Channel 19

MSG (Madison Square Garden network – New York)

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Radio – WSCR AM 670 in Chicago

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Game Preview

For the first time in Big East play, DePaul will be on the road as they visit Queens, New York to go up against the Red Storm of St. John's in an important conference game for both squads.

Both teams come into the game after humbling losses earlier this week. DePaul lost on Tuesday to Georgetown at home by a score of 76-60, while St. John's lost the same day at Connecticut 81-65.

Much like DePaul, St. John's is an up and down bunch. Their current record is 7-7and 1-2 in the Big East.

St. John's is led by 6-8 freshman Justin Burrell and his 12.4 ppg and 7.4 rpg, both are tops on the team. Burrell is a heralded freshman and is a load to handle. He is very active under the basket and loves to finish around the hoop.

The Red Storm also get solid double-digit efforts from three other performers (Anthony Mason-12 ppg, Larry Wright 10.3 ppg and Eugene Lawrence 10 ppg) while one other is right on the cusp (D. J. Kennedy 9.5 ppg). An interesting match up to keep an eye on is a pair of Sag-Nasty products (Saginaw, Michigan) going up against each other in Wright and DePaul's frosh Dar Tucker.

The Red Storm likes to mix it up and play physical with their opponents. At the forefront of that brigade is Burrell and on the perimeter they like to body you up with Mason, Wright, Lawrence and Paris Horne.

St. John's is a more efficient team on defense ranking seventh in the Big East while giving up on average 65.5 ppg. Conversely, the Red Storm find it a struggle to score placing 14th in the Big East with 67.9 ppg.

St. John's head coach Norm Roberts has had the tough task of blending nine freshmen to the team and so far the road traveled has been a bumpy one.

"We've been real up and down," said Roberts. "We're a young team. I thought we played extremely hard at Syracuse to start the season off in the Big East. Then we played Cincinnati at home here. We did a good job defensively on Deonta Vaughn and their guys."

Roberts said a lot of the good momentum was hurt in the loss at Connecticut as they showed their age again. "We're young, we're getting better," Roberts added. "We've just got to continue to get better and follow the process."

St. John's is a lot like DePaul, a group trying to find its identity after losing key players from the year before. For DePaul, finding their identity may have already occurred. Prior to the setback to Georgetown, DePaul was riding a four game winning streak in which it opened the Big East season with two straight wins over quality teams in Villanova and Providence.

While DePaul has four seniors on the roster, arguably the two biggest contributors lately have been from freshmen Tucker (12.9 ppg) and Mac Koshwal (11.4 ppg and a team high 8.5 rpg).

In the last few games, DePaul's leading scorer senior Draelon Burns (17.6 ppg) has been missing in action (only shooting 5-22 with a combined 14 in the last two games). But Burns has been in funks before only to erupt like a volcano. For example, Burns started out the season shooting 4-22 and a combined 11 points in a loss to Creighton and a win vs. Northwestern (coincidentally his only made field goal in that game was the game winner), but exploded to score 32 in consecutive games against North Carolina A&T and Texas A&M Corpus Christi.

Burns has it in him, and he's too good a scorer to be held down by a slump.

This game has extra special meaning for a couple of DePaul seniors - Karron Clarke (Brooklyn) and Cliff Clinkscales (Queens). Both call New York City home and will be amped to playing in front of family and friends. Clinkscales, prior to prepping in Florida, attended Springfield Gardens in Queens, the same high school as St. John's coach Norm Roberts.

Also returning home will be DePaul assistant coach Gary DeCesare who coached at legendary St. Raymond's in the Bronx.

Saturdays contest should be an interesting tilt as both teams try to overcome bad losses and rejuvenate their seasons and get back on track toward a good Big East Season.

"DePaul will be a tough match up," concluded Roberts "DePaul's got a lot of veteran guys back. They spread the floor. They've been playing very well of late. It's going to be a terrific test for us. We're going to have to really guard well."

Notes: St. John's freshman Dele Coker was a teammate of DePaul freshman Kene Obi at South Kent School in Connecticut. Both are Nigerian natives.

Blue Demons freshman point guard Michael Bizoukas is not expected to play due to illness. Bizoukas had been recovering from a bout with mononucleoisis.

The Last Time

The Blue Demons defeated the Red Storm 71-63 on January 16, 2007 at Allstate Arena. St. John's Avery Patterson led all scorers with 19 points, while Eugene Lawrence added 16. Wilson Chandler led the Demons with 15 points. Draelon Burns was right behind with 14 points. Sammy Mejia contributed with 12 points.

St. John's Roster

No. Name Yr. Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown/High School/Previous School

2 Anthony Mason Jr. JR Forward 6-7 209 Memphis, Tenn./Fairley

3 Malik Boothe FR Guard 5-9 185 Rosedale, N.Y./Christ the King

4 Eugene Lawrence SR Guard 6-1 210 Brooklyn, N.Y./Lincoln

5 Larry Wright SO Guard 6-2 172 Saginaw, Mich./Saginaw

10 D.J. Kennedy FR Guard/Forward 6-6 208 Pittsburgh, Pa./Schenley

11 Tomas Jasiulionis JR Center 6-11 249 Utena, Lithuania/Trinity Episcopal (Va.)

15 Dele Coker FR Forward/Center 6-10 270 Newburgh, N.Y./South Kent (Conn.)

22 Sean Evans FR Forward 6-8 242 Philadelphia, Pa./Northeast

23 Paris Horne FR Guard/Forward 6-3 180 Middletown, Del./Bridgton Academy (Maine)

24 Justin Burrell FR Forward 6-8 235 Bronx, N.Y./Our Savior Lutheran

30 Liam Biesty SR Guard 6-0 185 Brooklyn, N.Y./Poly Prep

32 Mike Cavataio FR Guard/Forward 6-4 190 Forest Hills, N.Y./St. Francis Prep

33 Otoja Abit SR Forward 6-6 195 Woodside, N.Y./Archbishop Molloy

35 Matt Duell SO Guard 5-9 155 Orient, N.Y./Greenport

45 Terrell Lewis FR Guard 5-9 145 Brooklyn, N.Y./Bedford Academy

55 Rob Thomas RS FR Forward 6-6 235 New York, N.Y./South Kent (Conn.)


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