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St. John’s Wins Big Over DePaul in Big East Opener, 86-67

Johnnies rebound well after difficult loss to Iowa State, start conference play with a win

NCAA Basketball: DePaul at St. John Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Storm got a sizable lead early, and maintained that lead before pulling away late beating DePaul, 86-67.

St. John’s started the game off with a 12-0 run, holding DePaul scoreless for the first four minutes of the contest.

Despite the strong start to the game, the Red Storm defense began having some late rotations and late doubles leading to multiple open looks for the Blue Demons. DePaul was able to capitalize and linger around for the rest of the first half.

Even with the team playing in lead-maintenance mode, Joel Soriano got back to being an offensive force inside. The big man knocked down a jumper early in the half, and threw down a thunderous dunk late.

Soriano finished the half with 12 points (4-5 FG) and “only” 6 rebounds with David Jones gobbling up 7 rebounds himself.

Speaking of Jones, he looked much more like himself early in this game. The wing added 7 points (3-7 FG) while still taking a handful of threes (1-4 3PT). However, he got back to slashing and getting involved around the rim (2-2 at the basket).

It what may be becoming a worrying trend is the poor half by Dylan Addae-Wusu. The guard has been shooting 30% from deep coming into this contest, down from the 38% he shot last year, and threes have made up half of his shot attempts thus far. The junior guard was 0-4 from deep in the first half, which won’t help his shooting percentage.

As a positive, the analytics suggest that Addae-Wusu has improved defensively with his defensive rating (an estimate of points allowed per 100 possessions) has improved from 101 last season to 89 thus far this season, albeit largely against inferior opponents this year especially after not playing at all against Iowa State.

At the half, St. John’s led DePaul 40-29.

Most of the second half was largely similar to the first half in that DePaul paced the Johnnies and the difference was the 12-0 run at the beginning of the contest. After the the under-eight minute media timeout, fatigue appeared to have set in for DePaul and St. John’s finally put some distance between themselves and the Blue Demons.

Montez Mathis had a strong second half. The guard was perfect from the field (3-3 FG, 2-2 3PT) for 8 points while also adding a rebound and a steal. Unfortunately, at the under-eight minute media timeout, Mathis was seen limping off of the floor.

After a Mr. Hyde first half, Addae-Wusu had a Dr. Jekyll second half for the Red Storm. Despite Twitter’s outcry to replace Addae-Wusu’s minutes with freshman wing AJ Storr, Coach Mike Anderson stuck with his upperclassman and reaped the reward. Addae-Wusu benefitted from attacking the rim more often and getting more time as a primary ball-handler. The junior guard responded with a 6 point (2-2 FG), 4 rebound, and 1 assist performance in the second half.

On the evening, Posh Alexander had a strong bounce-back performance in terms of his turnovers. the junior guard turned the ball over 8 times against Iowa State. Tonight, in part due to handling the ball significantly less often then against the Cyclones, he had 0 turnovers to go along with his 13 points (4-13 FG, 0-1 3PT), 6 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 steals.

The deep bench came in with a couple minutes to play before St. John’s won, 86-67.

St. John’s Red Storm

Joel Soriano: 17 points (5-8 FG), 14 rebounds

Andre Curbelo: 15 points (7-9 FG, 1-2 3PT), 5 assists

Posh Alexander: 13 points (4-13 FG, 0-1 3PT), 6 rebounds, 6 assists

DePaul Blue Demons

Zion Cruz: 14 points (6-12 FG, 2-4 3PT), 2 rebounds

Da’Sean Nelson: 13 points (6-6 FG), 9 rebounds, 1 assist