DePaul Blue Demons vs. St. John's Red Storm – Friday, March 5th, 7:30 p.m. Central – Allstate Arena, Rosemont, Illinois
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This is it. This is the last chance DePaul has to get another Big East win as they host St. John's on Senior Day this Friday evening in the last regular season game for both squads.
Can DePaul (8-21, 1-16) break their current 11-game losing streak and get back into a win column that has been so evasive for them in the last two years?
Well with St. John's (15-14, 5-12) fresh off a 85-66 pounding at the hands of the #1 ranked Syracuse Orange on Tuesday night and traveling halfway across country, perhaps the Red Storm gives DePaul one of their best chances at a victory.
After all, St. John's has struggled in the Big East as well and is placed 14th in the conference standings.
DePaul again learned the hard way that you have to play a complete game to garner a victory as they gave away a lead to South Florida on Tuesday night and ultimately lost 63-59 in the waning moments of the contest.
One of these days, or at least that's the hope, they will learn from this and scrape by and get another well-deserved win. The setting could not be more advantageous as DePaul will bid adieu to its lone senior Will Walker, hoping to send him off a winner. Walker is DePaul's leading scorer (16.2 ppg) and the Iron Man (leads all Big East players in minutes per game) of the team as his leadership and scoring ability almost has to be on the floor at all times.
Walker has had a fine career and on Tuesday night he surpassed Draelon Burns for 18th place in DePaul scoring history. With four more points, Walker would surpass Terrence Greene for 17th place.
Walker has endured his fair share of losing and it would be great if the consummate professional can go out a winner.
That's not to say that St. John's will be welcome patrons and roll over. They are playing for pride and perhaps for the future of their embattled head coach Norm Roberts. Speculation in New York is that Roberts may be shown the door.
However, expect Roberts to rally the troops and try to go into the Big East Tournament on a high note. St. John's recently has had DePaul's number and the two teams have already played this year. Back on January 17th in Queens, St. John's ambushed the Demons and ran away with the game in the second half to breeze to a 67-47 victory. And last year, the Red Storm came into the All State Arena and took DePaul behind the woodshed in a lopsided 84-62 victory for St. John's, which also ironically took place on Senior Day.
St. John's has a balanced squad with only two players averaging in double figures, D.J. Kennedy (14.7 ppg) and Dwight Hardy (10.5). However, St. John's announced today that Hardy will not be available for Friday's game due to a left knee sprain injury that he suffered in the loss at Syracuse.
St. John's is an athletic bunch and if they have the chance they love to get out and run.
"They've been doing a good job," said DePaul interim coach Tracy Webster. "They have guys that will come in and try to pick you apart. They are a team like us, you can't fall asleep on them."
The key for DePaul is to keep St. John's off the glass and prevent them from getting out on the break.
It may be in the best interest to keep this a grind-it out game as both teams are the two lowest scoring teams in the conference. DePaul would be best served to get the ball into the post and let Mac Koshwal do his thing. But the main thing to do is play defense and REBOUND! REBOUND! REBOUND!
* WeAreDePaul.com's Scott Phillips contributed to this report.
DePaul Coaching Search Update
By Steve Newhouse
Today Southern Illinoisan beat writer Todd Hefferman wrote that SIU coach Chris Lowery had agreed to become the next head coach of the Blue Demons in his blog.
"Sources close to the team told me earlier today that Lowery had, in fact, agreed to a preliminary deal with DePaul to be their head coach next season."
This report was denied by Lowery, SIU Athletic Director Mario Moccia, SIU Sports Information Director Tom Weber, DePaul Athletic Director Jean Lenti Ponsetto, and DePaul Sports Information Director Greg Greenwell.
WeAreDePaul.com has learned that while Lowery may be a candidate for the job, he is by no means a leading candidate and no such deal has been struck at this time. As of this writing, it is still early in the search process for the university. Any such report would be very premature.
Many of the details in Hefferman's report are false. He suggests that DePaul desires to name a coach before the start of the NCAA tournament, while Ponsetto has set a late March - early April timeframe for her decision.
The Salukis' (15-15) season ended tonight with a 63-61 loss in the Missouri Valley conference tournament to the Drake Bulldogs.
The Last Time
On January 17th in Queens, New York, St. John's drubbed the Demons 67-47.
DePaul was led by Will Walker's 14 points on 5-17 shooting. Mike Stovall scored 11 points, making the majority of his shots at the free-throw line (eight of eight).
St. John's got balanced scoring as only one player, Anthony Mason Jr. (10 points), scored in double figures. Of the 13 players who played for the Red Storm, only two did not score.
St. John's Roster
No. Name Yr. Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown/High School/Previous School
1 D.J. Kennedy JR Guard/Forward 6-5 215 Pittsburgh, Pa./Schenley
2 Anthony Mason Jr. RS SR Forward 6-7 210 Memphis, Tenn./Fairley
3 Malik Boothe JR Guard 5-9 188 Queens, N.Y./Christ the King
4 John Taubeneck JR Guard 5-11 165 Salem, Mass./Salem/Roger Williams
5 Sean Evans JR Forward 6-8 255 Philadelphia, Pa./Northeast
10 Quincy Roberts SO Guard 6-5 195 Harrisburg, Pa./Harrisburg
11 Omari Lawrence FR Guard/Forward 6-4 209 Bronx, N.Y./South Kent (Conn.)/St. Raymond's
12 Dwight Hardy JR Guard 6-2 187 Bronx, N.Y./John F. Kennedy/Indian Hills C.C. (Iowa)
15 Dele Coker JR Forward/Center 6-10 252 Lagos, Nigeria/South Kent (Conn.)
23 Paris Horne JR Guard 6-3 191 Middletown, Del./Bridgton Academy (Maine)
24 Justin Burrell JR Forward 6-8 235 Bronx, N.Y./Bridgton Academy (Maine)/Our Savior Lutheran
30 Guesly Saint Aubin SR Forward 6-6 205 Central Islip, N.Y./St. John The Baptist
31 Malik Stith FR Guard 5-11 185 Hempstead, N.Y./Bridgton Academy (Maine)/East Mecklenberg (N.C.)
32 Justin Brownlee JR Forward 6-7 232 Tifton, Ga.//Chipola (Fla.)
42 Kevin Clark SO Guard 6-2 197 Dunmore, Pa./Dunmore
55 Rob Thomas RS JR Forward 6-6 235 Harlem, N.Y./South Kent (Conn.)
DePaul vs. St. John's Game Preview
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