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St. John’s Wins Big East Opener against DePaul, 89-84

A career night by Julian Champagnie was necessary for the Johnnies

Nick Bello

After a long layoff, Julian Champagnie leads an out of sorts St. John’s team past DePaul, 89-84.

Nineteen days after we lost saw St. John’s in their loss to Pittsburgh, the Red Storm opened up conference play against DePaul back at the friendly confines of Carnesecca Arena.

The Johnnies looked fatigued at times throughout the first half, but the physicality at the rim in the half-court was where the team looked the most out of sorts. St. John’s shot 6 of 22 at the rim in the half, seeming to struggle with the bumps and collisions from DePaul.

In contrast to the half-court woes at the rim, the Red Storm were able to take advantage of the Blue Demons in transition. With St. John’s fatigue issues, Coach Mike Anderson was not able to press as much as he had this year, resulting in the Johnnies having to settle for less full-court pressing.

Despite this, St. John’s was able to both win the turnover battle and capitalize on those turnovers. DePaul turned the ball over 8 times, as opposed to St. John’s 6 turnovers, which the Red Storm converted into 10 points.

To go along with 4 rebounds and 5 points (2/4 FG), Montez Mathis appeared especially active on the defensive end with a steal and this block.

Late in the half, DePaul’s Javon Freeman-Liberty came to life to help keep the Blue Demons in the game. Freeman-Liberty finished the half with 11 points (3/8 FG, 2/5 3PT) and 4 rebounds.

Freeman-Liberty’s offensive activity cut St. John’s 11-point lead to 39-35 at halftime.

One good thing that may have come from the time off was the return of Posh Alexander’s outside shot. In the last four games, Alexander was 0 of 9 from deep, having not hit a three since the Kansas game. Tonight, Posh finished with 16 points (6/15 FG) and shot 3 of 6 from beyond the arc.

Nick Bello

Despite the strong showing from Alexander, DePaul continued chip away at St. John’s lead and took a five-point lead prior to the U12 timeout. Instead of Freeman-Liberty leading the charge as in the first half, DePaul sophomores David Jones and Jalen Terry led the way for the Blue Demons with a combined 22 points off of an aggregate 8 of 14 from the field and 4 of 7 from deep.

After Posh Alexander temporarily exited with an apparent ankle injury, a dunk from Mathis tied it back up for the Red Storm. Both teams proceeded to trade buckets and leads until there were just under five minutes left in the contest, at which point Julian Champagnie knocked down his fourth and final triple of the contest to give St. John’s a 6-point lead.

After a longer period of time away than the rest of his teammates, Champagnie had another career night. Champagnie finished the game with a career high in both points with 34 (12/22 FG, 4/7 3PT) and rebounds with 15.

On the back of Champagnie’s career night and a late dagger from deep by Dylan Addae-Wusu, the Red Storm return to action with a win over DePaul, 89-84.

Julian Champagnie: 34 Points - Career High (12/22 FG, 4/7 3PT), 16 Rebounds - Career High, 1 Assist

Dylan Addae-Wusu: 17 Points (6/13 FG, 2/4 3PT), 2 Rebounds, 8 Assists

Posh Alexander: 16 Points (6/15 FG, 3/6 3PT), 2 Rebounds, 4 Assists

DePaul Blue Demons

Javon Freeman-Liberty: 24 Points (8/19 FG, 4/9 3PT), 7 Rebounds, 1 Assist

Jalen Terry: 14 Points (4/9 FG, 4/9 3PT), 8 Rebounds, 6 Assists