Game Recap: DePaul 77, St. John's 75

Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

DePaul dispatches of St. John's and accomplishes what they couldn't do their previous five seasons: win back-to-back Big East games.

DePaul fought back once again on Tuesday, and also pushed back, locking down St. John's on their final possessions to ink out a 77-75 victory.

With the win, DePaul (10-8) has won back-to-back Big East games for the first time in six years. It's a long way to finally pulling this team out of the Big East cellar, but it's a huge start.

Player Grades

Player Grade Comments
Cleveland Melvin B+ It took some time for Melvin to get going, but when he did, he gave the Blue Demons the extra push they needed to defeat the Red Storm. Playing with four fouls, Melvin dropped 16 points, including the game winner, to go along with seven boards and six blocks.
Brandon Young A Young has been playing exceptionally well as of late, finishing with 19 points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals.
Sandi Marcius C Marcius has really been the odd man out on this team. With his starting job lost, the Purdue transfer logged seven minutes and grabbed four rebounds.
Billy Garrett, Jr. A The freshman went 6-for-13 from the field, including 3-of-6 from downtown. He's seen his down moments, like the Creighton game, but fans should look at his performances in the last two wins as what this young kid can do as the number 1 option on the team.
Tommy Hamilton B Hamilton scored 13 and pulled down six rebounds, but was responsible for a third of DePaul's turnovers.
Greg Sequele C Sequele's played good defense in a short amount of time. He added two points and two rebounds to the stat sheet.
Durrell McDonald D McDonald missed all four of his shots in 14 minutes on the court.
Charles McKinney C-

McKinney is a starter now, and plays starter minutes, but he has been the DePaul equivalent of Lennay Kekua on the court, contributing one single shot in 28 minutes of play.

Demons Streaking

Freshman Billy Garrett Jr. has dropped 22 and 21 in his last two games after failing to score against Creighton, while Cleveland Melvin came back from a poor first half to score 16 and 7, while impressively blocking six shots. Brandon Young is scoring at will lately, and while big man Sandi Marcius has taken a backseat in recent games, Tommy Hamilton is emerging as not only a better player inside, but a threat to watch out for from long range.

Head Coach Oliver Purnell has gotten some good performances out of his crew lately, but Tuesday, DePaul might have been on their best. Their starters scored 71 of their team's 77 points, and in a game with 15 lead changes and 16 ties, teams need to convert on their second chances, and the Blue Demons took care of theirs, scoring 18 second chance points.

Their schedule only gets harder with match-ups against 6th-ranked Villanova on the road and Xavier on the horizon, but DePaul is feeling it after the last two wins. Beating two teams still searching for their first conference victory doesn't seem like much, but try and tell that to Melvin and Young, who have never seen a Big East winning streak in their college careers. They've played with confidence, and with everyone doubting they could pull off a third straight at Villanova, expect DePaul to treat this as a way to make some major rumblings with the other teams in the Top 25.

St. John's Fading

The Red Storm have now lost four straight in the Big East, and have now lost to a team many believed would take their usual seat at the bottom of the conference. SJU never folded, with 40 points collected by their back court of D`Angelo Harrison and Rysheed Jordan, they held a four-point lead with 4:35 to go. They would not score another field goal for the rest of the game.

St. John's outshot DePaul, but they could not get it done in crunch time. After lighting it up from deep in the first, SJU went 2-for-9 from long range in the second, as well as a missed three by Max Hooper on the final shot.

Steve Lavin and company had a 9-3 record heading into conference play. After a four-game losing streak, they welcome Providence into Carnesecca Arena on Thursday. The Friars give St. John's the best chance at their first Big East victory, but dreams of an at-large bid in the big dance are starting to fade.

Next Up

The Red Storm return to Jamaica, Queens on Thursday as they host Providence at 7 P.M. EST on FOX Sports 1. DePaul will have a few days off before they take their three-game winning streak into suburban Philly to battle the 6th-ranked country in the nation, Villanova, this Saturday at 4 P.M. EST on FOX Sports Net and WSCR 670 AM (DePaul).

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