Last night's 80-65 victory over the DePaul Blue Demons was St. John's first in two months, the first in Big East play for Chris Mullin, and we would all like to thank DePaul for allowing the Red Storm to taste the fruits of hard work.
And while you are basking in the glow of a win, some box score/ Four Factors notes:
Playing a fast-paced game, St. John's finally beat an opponent on the boards. The Red Storm had not grabbed more rebounds than another opponent since the NJIT game in December.
We can look at a more telling factor - what percentage of offensive rebounds St. John's has allowed, speaking to their ability to keep opponents to one shot on each possession. The Red Storm held DePaul, the third-best offensive rebounding team in the Big East, to only grabbing 21% of their misses (in league play, they've grabbed 32% - and their misses are plentiful).
That's a surprising effort, and for St. John's, the interior players stepped up:
- Kassoum Yakwe had eight defensive rebounds, a career high (11 total rebounds, which matches his career high in that category). He also had four blocks and a steal along with 11 points, his first career double-double;
- Christian Jones had seven defensive rebounds. His rebounding performances have been somewhat inconsistent, but he's showing potential;
- Yankuba Sima brushed off some of the rust and snagged seven defensive rebounds (9 rebounds total), while adding three blocks and two steals.
DePaul made a run coming out of halftime, going on an 8-0 run on the Johnnies to take the lead at Carnesecca Arena. Near the end of that run, Chris Mullin made a four-player switch, bringing in veterans Christian Jones and Felix Balamou along with freshmen Yankuba Sima and Federico Mussini.
After an Aaron Simpson free throws - on of the dangerous shooter's three points on the night - the Red Storm held the Blue Demons to three points over the next six minutes of game time. In that period of time, DePaul shot 0/9, with four turnovers and three free throws made (out of four attempts).
Myke Henry, who averages 14 points per game, was held to five on the night. On the other hand, freshman Eli Cain picked up some of the slack, scoring 25 on the night.
The overall numbers - 6/19 from beyond the arc - look rough, but much of that is on Ron Mvouika's poor offensive night. He did not score while shooting 0/6 on three-pointers. The other Johnnies, however, shot 6/13 - a 46% clip.
Let's also note that Amar Alibegovic had a strong first three minutes - nailing a three-pointer and a putback slam, enjoying his third start of the season - but tailed off while others picked up the pace.
St. John's gave the ball up on 23% of their offensive possessions - a step back for a team that had been much better at holding on to the ball (and giving themselves chances to score). Durand Johnson, who had an otherwise decent night, especially late in the game, had four turnovers; Ellison and Mussini had three apiece.
DePaul scored 25 points off of turnovers.