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St. John’s Final: Red Storm fend off DePaul 79-73

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The Johnnies have already doubled last season’s Big East win total.

NCAA Basketball: St. John at DePaul Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

The red hot Johnnies powered over DePaul, topping them by a 79-73 score. They are still tied for first in the Big East conference.

St. John’s started out very cold, only converting on 1 of their first 9 field goals. This poor shooting allowed DePaul to jump out to an early 17-5 lead. Following a St. John’s timeout, the Red Storm ran out to a quick 9-0 run, slimming the Blue Demons lead to just three.

Around the midway point in the first period, St. John’s started to find their groove and knock down shots. Before long the DePaul lead was down to a mere two points, forcing Blue Demons coach Dave Leitao to call for time.

That timeout proved to do very little, as St. John’s took their first lead shortly after the short break.

DePaul would close out the first half as the aggressor, taking a 40-33 lead into the break.

Coming out in the second half, St. John’s chipped at the DePaul lead. An early 5-0 run forced the Blue Demons to call a timeout. From that point on, DePaul and St. John’s exchanged blows until they were tied at the under-12 mark.

St. John’s emphasized sharing the basketball in the second half. As a team, the Johnnies tallied 18 assists.

With 6:00 remaining in the contest, Tariq Owens slammed down a thunderous dunk and was fouled. His three-point play gave St. John’s a lead that they never looked back on. Owens finished with 9 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 blocks.

Overall, the Johnnies played a solid game. Once again, they were lead by their “big three” of Ponds, LoVett, and Ahmed. That trio accounted for 51 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists.

Another player that played well was Malik Ellison. He finished with a 7 points and a career high 8 assists.

As a team, the Johnnies continued to shot well as they converted on 39% of their three-point attempts. They also did a nice job down the stretch getting to the free-throw line. They attempted 21 free-throws, converting 76% of them.

One thing the Johnnies need to improve upon is their rebounding. DePaul grabbed 36 rebounds which was 4 more than St. John’s. Also keeping turnovers in check, as they coughed up the basketball 12 times in this game.

For DePaul, one player fans will remember from this contest is Eli Cain. He is the undisputed leader on this DePaul team as he finished with 18 points and 3 assists. Late in the contest he cramped up and was forced to miss critical time.

Next up for the Red Storm is a home contest against the Creighton Bluejays. They will be looking to win their fourth straight game.