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St. John’s defeats DePaul, 77 to 76

Stretched to their limits, the Johnnies hold off DePaul to keep the streak alive

NCAA Basketball: St. John at DePaul Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Something must have woken up St. John’s. Whether a switch was flipped or it’s just culmination of close encounters with the Big East kind of shook them out of their malaise that had zapped there cunning abilities, the Johnnies have the entire nation standing at attention.

Now in a flip of the script and a sudden jolt we are looking at a hot team rising before our eyes. A Red Storm rising before us, getting more confident with each game over this burgeoning three game winning streak.

Tonight the Johnnies sought to keep the pace going as they made their way over to Chicago to wrap up their regular season series against DePaul in what is a bottom of the standings clash between both schools. Earlier on in the season, DePaul got the better of St. John’s defeating them by a score of 91 to 74 on the back of a great 25 point game by Marin Maric. The Blue Demons, also coming into this one were fresh off of a weekend victory over Providence, faced a St. John’s team that had just upset Duke, Villanova, and Marquette.

In the end and after forty minutes of play it would be St. John’s riding off with a 77 to 76 win over DePaul continuing bringing their win streak up to four games and the prospect of climbing slightly out of the basement closer.

It was a close one. It felt as if DePaul was going to pull away at any moment as St. John’s was having trouble kicking into gear, though the Blue Demons as well were having that issue too and in the left the door open wide enough for St. John’s attacking offense to get some momentum. The most glaring issue from this game was the fact that St. John’s had to find ways to paper over the cracks of their depth as the limitations of their roster became apparent right away given that they could only rely on three players for offense, one of which was Justin Simon, who flirted with foul trouble early on. DePaul had bench issues tonight as well, but made up for it with a more well rounded attack with all five of their starters putting up double digit point totals.

The Red Storm were led by Shamorie Ponds who did not have one of his best games like he has had so far in their streak, but was effective when it mattered most, posting a double-double of 26 points and 10 assists. For added bonus he also got an off setting technical foul with DePaul’s Marin Maric who later fouled out of this game.

Rounding out the scoring for St. John’s was Marvin Clark II with 24 points and Justin Simon with 16 points.

These three players made up the entire offense for the Red Storm tonight. Bashir Ahmed had an off night as did Tariq Owens and Kassoum Yakwe, though Yakwe only saw two minutes of play tonight. Owens,on the other hand, had a night of four fouls with limited impact on the floor over the thirty-one minutes he played tonight.

As a team, St. John’s shot the ball at a rate of 48% from the floor, 50% from beyond the arc, and 69% from the foul line. They did not have a good rebounding game tonight with only 25 total rebounds to DePaul’s 45 boards, but more on DePaul’s rebounds in a little bit.

On the Blue Demon side of things, DePaul as mentioned had a well rounded game from all of their starters tonight as each one posted a double digit game. The two standouts were Eli Cain’s own double-double night of 19 points and 11 assists and the aforementioned Marin Maric who posted a 15 point game and came close to a double-double finishing just short with 9 rebounds. DePaul did not get much production from their bench with only 6 points in total from the pine for the Blue Demons.

As a team, DePaul tonight shot the ball at a rate of 44% from the floor, 38% from three point range, and 69% from the foul line. They won the battle on the boards with 45 total rebounds and were particularly active on the offensive end with 16 rebounds.

St. John’s marches on with four consecutive wins. They’re getting hot at the right time which might keep hope alive for a helluva run. Whether they can keep this going is left to be seen, but for now this streak as has been a breath of fresh air for the Johnnies.