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Game #15: St. John's 54, DePaul 60 Recap

What a loss.

St. John's vs DePaul box score

St. John's dominated the rebounding, took 14 more shots, and had 14 offensive rebounds. But they couldn't shoot. The only reason DePaul shot so well is because the Red Storm players simply didn't protect the basket. Point blank. I'm surprised Coach Roberts didn't say "Give them credit. DePaul's a tough team. We battled."

This loss was foul to watch; St. John's looked (again) like a team that has no idea how to score or protect the ball. The defense was stout for a half (against better, more experienced shooters) and then DePaul began to run and take advantage of the turnovers and lack of foot speed by some of the Red Storm players.

Eugene Lawrence's 5 turnovers also had to do with trying to feed the ball to Tomas Jasiulionis, who, with each fumbled pass, becomes more of an offensive decoy. He took 6 shots, making 2 in 25 minutes. He only pulled down 2 rebounds in that time.

Keys of the Game (from pregame post)

DePaul Blue Demons running icon(-)Fast Starts? Everyone was asleep for the noontime tip, but DePaul really took over with a pair of runs (14-4 and 16-0) in the second half. They took turnovers and sloppy play and made them into points, converting near the hoop, and getting to the free throw line 16 times. St. John's was not good offensively for any point of the game-- they had no rhythm except for when Justin Burrell could get his shots off. Even then, he shot 40% (8-20); better than Anthony Mason, who shot 4-14 (29%). Everyone on DePaul was a relative offensive threat, and Dar Tucker had an efficient game.

(even) Draelon Burns + Mac Koshwal? They scored 10 points apiece. The other freshman, Dar Tucker scored 16. Not overwhelming numbers, though both combined for 4 steals and 50% shooting from the field. Koshwal was in foul trouble early, but made an impact with his speed/ athleticism in the second half runs.

(--)The Ball Is My Friend? This is how the game was lost (yes, along with the 34% shooting). St. John's and DePaul had 15 turnovers apiece in this sloppy game. At least I think that's a sloppy game; I've been watching this St. John's squad for years and I have forgotten that teams can have fewer than 10 turnovers in a game. I think that's a lie perpetrated by the NCAA. Right? Can my team be this bad? Every single game?

The turnover numbers may be the same, but St. John's has 4, maybe 5 people who might know what to do with a ball and how to finish near the rim, and 2 of them-- Anthony Mason Jr. and Eugene Lawrence-- both keep challenging the belief that they're competent ballplayers. The other two are Larry Wright (who isn't great inside, but has some touch) and Burrell. Meanwhile, 300 pound Wesley Green was stealing the ball from Jasiulionis, blocking shots, and bringing in 12 rebounds. And Dar Tucker and Draelon Burns were turning steals into points.

Mason's ballhandling took St. John's out of the offense; Lawrence couldn't penetrate. Malik Boothe didn't make a strong impact. DJ Kennedy was credited with one turnover, but his ballhandling wasn't crisp either. Sean Evans even managed a turnover in his 2 minute stint where a pair of DePaul players got past him for scores in the paint.

Mason, at least, had his best rebounding day of the year with 8 boards. Dele had a bad Dele day, with 2 fouls in 6 minutes, and just a shot attempt accompanying that stat on his box score line.

From the AP, Coach Roberts speaks the obvious:

"In the Big East it comes down to two, three, four possessions," St. John's coach Norm Roberts said. "You have to make sure you do your best job in those possessions. We didn't; DePaul did."

NY Daily News: St. John's melts down against DePaul

Justin Burrell reverse layup vs DePaul

When it was over - after the Storm had been undone by DePaul's late 16-0 run - the sullen faces on the players spoke to just how painful a loss it was. The Johnnies (7-8, 1-3 Big East) had a second-half lead vanish in a slew of bad shots and miscues that left the home crowd raining boos on them."I knew it would be a tough year," said Burrell, one of eight freshmen and the centerpiece of coach Norm Roberts' best recruiting class. "I'm disappointed we're 1-3. I'm a little bit hurt, but I'm not shocked.

"I'm not going to make excuses and say, 'We're young.' We had a chance to win all our games. We just didn't get it done."

Burrell had 18 points and 11 rebounds, and Anthony Mason Jr. added 11 points and eight rebounds as his father and his dad's former Knicks teammate John Starks looked on. It was not a good day for Mason, who had five turnovers and completed a 4-for-14 shooting day by making only one of six shots in the second half. He is 9-for-32 from the floor in the last two games.

Starting point guard Eugene Lawrence also committed five turnovers, four in the second half. Roberts benched him for the final 2:50 in favor of freshman Malik Boothe.

"I didn't make a big enough impact," he said. "We have one win in the Big East right now. I have to do more."

NY Newsday: St. John's loses to DePaul, 60-54

Strategy was the least of Jerry Wainwright's concerns when he called a timeout with his DePaul team trailing St. John's by six points midway through the second half of yesterday's game at Carnesecca Arena...

"I wish I could say it was about X's and O's," Wainwright said. "But we have a very fragile, young team. All I asked them to do was concentrate on the moment. We were just out of sync."

Apparently, his message got through. In the next 4 1/2 minutes, DePaul outscored St. John's 16-0 en route to a 60-54 victory that dropped the Red Storm to 1-3 in the Big East, with the toughest part of its schedule dead ahead.

During that stretch, St. John's (7-8) missed six shots, committed four turnovers, utilized four substitutes and failed to respond to the first of two timeouts charged to Norm Roberts.


St. John's coach Norm Roberts has maintained adamantly he will not give up on his team. And for the first third of the season, the Red Storm fans stuck with him.

That all changed yesterday.

St. John's fans booed their own in a 60-54 loss to DePaul in Carnesecca Arena.

They booed and then they left in the final seconds after watching St. John's blow a nine-point second half lead. Some of those fans won't be back this season. It's hard to stick with a team that is 7-8, (1-3 Big East), and isn't easy on the eyes....

Roberts used a timeout when the deficit hit 47-41 and the fans began grumbling. He burned a second timeout when DePaul's lead hit 51-41 with 4:43 left.

That's when the booing hit a crescendo.

"It's New York City, New York people aren't patient, people don't want to be patient," said Roberts. "And that's fine.

"They're trying, they're trying hard to do the right things. Sometimes they press a little, freshmen. But even our older guys pressed today and they made some mistakes."...

St. John's is digging a hole so deep an EMS worker might not be able to haul them out. And the fans are on the verge of taking the last step from booing to apathy.

"I don't play basketball for the fans," said Lawrence. "I play for St. John's."

These days that's nothing to cheer about.

St. John's made the Blue Demons look awesome. I bet they can't wait for next year, where the Johnnies play them in Chicago.