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St. John’s snaps losing streak and beats DePaul, 79-66

Historic performance from Figueroa powers Johnnies past Blue Demons

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

After losing three straight, St. John’s picks up their first true road victory of the season behind the LJ Figueroa’s seven threes to beat DePaul, 79-66.

After Marquette put on a wide-open shooting clinic on Tuesday, the Johnnies picked up a trick or two that they implemented against DePaul.

Offensively, it appeared LJ Figueroa liked what he saw in Markus Howard, so LJ had a similar half. All nine of Figueora’s attempts were from behind the three-point line and he made more than half of them, finishing the half with 16 points.

Defensively, at least for a stretch, St. John’s did something they have not done well during Big East play: defend without fouling. Coming into the game, the Johnnies averaged just under 21 fouls a game in conference play, 9th in the conference. For the first ten minutes of the half, St. John’s only had three team fouls. Unfortunately, as bad habits do, the team backslid for the final ten minutes of the half and picked up seven more fouls.

Despite the Johnnies maintaining their fouling pace, they did cut down on the number of wide open looks from Tuesday, holding a poor shooting DePaul team to 3 of 13 from behind the arc.

Behind Figueroa’s shooting and St. John’s streaky defense, the Johnnies went into the half tied with the Blue Demons, 34-34.

In the second half, the Johnnies showed off even more shooting than they did before the break. After making seven threes in the first half, the Johnnies set a season high in threes with 13, topping the 11 they had against Central Connecticut.

Conversely, St. John’s continued to keep DePaul from being effective from deep, as the Blue Demons shot an even worse 1 off 12 from beyond the arc.

The Johnnies were able to get their lead as large as 11 in the second half, in large part thanks to the team’s shooting. However, when the shots stopped dropping, the Blue Demons started to haunt the Red Storm by creeping back into the game.

Luckily for the Red Storm, Mustapha Heron helped St. John’s maintain its lead. After he was largely deferring to Figueroa and adding 7 points, Heron exploded in the second half to seal the win for the Johnnies. Heron finished the game with 20 points off 5 of 12 from the floor.

Of concern for the Johnnies was a a perennial nightmare from last least, as the Johnnies allowed DePaul, and particular Paul Reed, to grab 15 offensive rebounds against the Johnnies, largely due to Josh Roberts spending a majority of the game on the bench.

Before the Johnnies sealed the victory, LJ Figueroa fouled out with the second most made threes in a single game with seven behind only Avery Patterson’s eight.

As the time expired, the Johnnies picked up their second win in the Big East over DePaul, 79-66.

St. John’s heads back to the friendly confines of Madison Square Garden to take on the Wildcats of Villanova on Tuesday at 6:30.

St. John’s Red Storm

LJ Figueroa: 28 points (9/16 FG, 7/12 3PT), 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 turnover

Mustapha Heron: 20 points (5/12 FG, 4/9 3PT), 4 rebounds

Rasheem Dunn: 13 points (4/8 FG, 1/3 3PT), 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 turnovers

DePaul Blue Demons

Charlie Moore: 20 points (5/15 FG, 1/6 3PT), 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 turnover

Paul Reed: 15 points (5/14 FG, 0/1 3PT), 12 rebounds, 2 assists, 5 turnovers