St. John’s entered the contest in need of their first Big East victory. They would be able to do just that, as they handled DePaul by a 74-67 score.
The Red Storm put together an inspired performance from the onset. Despite the sparse Garden crowd, the Johnnies kept the energy up and controlled DePaul.
What began as a back and forth affair, quickly became a game of keep-away on the part of St. John’s. With about six minutes remaining in the first half, the Red Storm took the lead on a made free throw from LJ Figueroa. The Johnnies maintained the lead for the rest of the contest.
Nevertheless, this game got interesting down the stretch. With 42 seconds remaining in the game, St. John’s held a 71-66 lead. However, DePaul’s Jalen Coleman-Lands was fouled attempting a three. He would go to the free throw line only to convert on one of those three. Missed free throws were not a unique sight in this game, as DePaul was only able to shoot 59% from the charity stripe on 27 attempts.
One big reason St. John’s was able to win this game was because they got a great performance from guard Rasheem Dunn. He appeared to be everywhere on the court; slashing to the rim, creating turnovers on defense, grabbing rebounds, among other items. He looked like the best player on the hardwood this afternoon. He finished with a season-high 19 points, as well as 8 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals. Keep in mind this was his first start with the Red Storm.
Coach Mike Anderson’s unit collectively was able to create a lot of defensive pressure. Albeit an out-sized Red Storm bunch, they did their best to make DePaul take difficult shots down in the paint. They used a variety of traps and defensive switches to keep the Blue Demons from getting comfortable in their offense.
The Red Storm defense was also largely bolstered by their full court press. DePaul on numerous occasions had a tough time getting the ball up the floor. That helped in creating 19 DePaul turnovers.
Elsewhere on the Red Storm stat sheet, Mustapha Heron added 15 points of his own, while shooting 3-6 from the perimeter. Forward Julian Champagnie came off the bench to add 11 points with 4 rebounds.
Furthermore, examining the stat sheet, it stands out that the Red Storm were able to effectively pass the ball. St. John’s made 25 field goals in the contest and assisted on 23 of those. The offense was very fluid today. St. John’s was able to space the floor and find open shots.
For the visiting Blue Demons, they were led Jaylen Butz who tallied 17 points, 9 rebounds, while shooting 6-6 from the field. Additionally, guard Charlie Moore put together a nice game, finishing with 14 points and 12 assists. DePaul’s exceptional big man Paul Reed had a bit of a slow afternoon relative to his play. He finished with only 4 points but was able to secure 12 rebounds.
Next for St. John’s, they will depart for Providence to take on an improving Friars squad. That game will take place on Wednesday, with tip set for 8:30 PM.