When DePaul was next on the schedule for St. John’s after they were pummeled during a mid-season gauntlet that saw them drop five of six games against top 50 opponents, the game was seen as a chance to “get right” for a Red Storm team in need of an emotional boost.
For the first twenty minutes, it appeared they squandered a chance to conclusively win in a manner that could carry over after the game. St. John’s blew multiple opportunities to put the game away early. They once led 16-4, then conceded a 7-0 run. They built their lead back to 31-16, then allowed DePaul to climb back with a 12-2 run. Despite forcing 11 first-half turnovers, their shooting woes continued by firing 35.1% from the field and 30% from three.
This was not how a game against the 296th-best team in the country, according to KenPom, was supposed to go.
It took twenty minutes of game time, but St. John’s stiffened up on both sides of the ball and unsurprisingly crushed DePaul on Tuesday night, cruising to an 85-57 win.
St. John’s forced more turnovers (19) than they allowed field goals (18) to DePaul in the entire game. Their defense became rugged in the second half, holding the Blue Demons to shooting 31% from the field and only 1-of-6 from three.
The Red Storm’s dominance after the intermission was ignited by an attribute they have been criticized for in Big East play: their perimeter shooting. Within the second half, St. John’s drilled nine threes on 20 attempts. Daniss Jenkins scored 11 of his 14 points in the second half, going a perfect 4-of-4 and 3-of-3 from deep. Freshmen Brady Dunlap and Simeon Wilcher each knocked down two threes off the bench.
In total, St. John’s drilled 15 threes on 40 attempts, the most triples they have ever made in a Big East game in program history. The scoring was also evenly spread, as 11 of the Red Storm’s 12 players entered the scoring column, and seven different Johnnies sank a three.
Now holding a 14-9 record and a 6-6 conference mark, St. John’s has a critical road matchup against No. 7 Marquette on Saturday night. The Red Storm are still searching for their first trademark win of the season, having not beaten a ranked opponent and losing their last five Quad 1 games.