St. John’s Looks to Build Momentum Against DePaul

Anthony Gruppuso- USA Today

The St. John’s Red Storm will roll into Chicago feeling good after an upset win at home over #20 Notre Dame. The Red Storm will look to improve to a .500 record in Big East play as they face a DePaul Blue Demons team who has lost its last two contests.

The Red Storm finished 1-2 on their three game home stand and will look to take advantage of a softer part of their schedule coming up. Last year the Storm played DePaul in a home and home series and the Storm was able to sweep the series winning 87-81 on the road and 79-72 at home in Queens.

Game Information
Date: Saturday, January 19th, 2013
Location: Allstate Arena- Chicago, Illinois
Time: 12:00 PM EST
Radio: WBBR 1130 AM (John Minko)


DePaul Blue Demons  (10-7, 1-3)

Head Coach: Oliver Purnell


Coach Purnell and the Blue Demons started the season strong in the non-conference part of the schedule going 9-4 and picking up a win over Auburn. Lead by star forward Cleveland Melvin the Blue Demons are still projected to be at the bottom of the Big East at 15th in the 15 team conference.

Melvin is averaging 17.7 points per game and 7.6 rebounds in 17 games so far this season. Against Cincinnati last week Melvin has a game high 32 points and eight rebounds in a 75-70 loss. Melvin shot 14-20 from the field and can go off at any second. It will be important for the Blue Demons that Melvin have a good game.
Junior guard Brandon Young is the best of the backcourt for the Demons. Young averages 17.3 points and shoots 46% from the field. Young against Cincinnati had 18 points and four assists in the close loss but did have five turnovers.

Projected Starting Lineup:
F Cleveland Melvin
F Jamee Crockett
F Donnavan Kirk
G Brandon Young
G Charles McKinney


St. John’s (10-7, 2-3)

Head Coach: Steve Lavin


The Red Storm are feeling good about them selves after a great win at home against a ranked Notre Dame team. The Johnnies were able to overcome poor shooting from behind the arc and only two made field goals by D’Angelo Harrison. Harrison’s two baskets were clutch though. Two late threes in the second half, one which gave the Johnnies the lead that they wouldn’t relinquish. Harrison has eight points, five rebounds, three assists and three blocks. One block saved the game as Harrison went up and saved the game against 6’10 Tom Knight who had a wide open basket.

With Harrison’s all around game working JaKarr Sampson scored 17 points and grabbed four rebounds to help pace the team. Phil Green shot 5-9 from two point range and had his best game in a long time scoring 13 points and four rebounds, Greene though did shoot 1-8 from three.

Projected Starting Lineup:
F JaKarr Sampson
F Sir’Dominic Pointer
C Chris Obekpa
G Phil Greene
G D’Angelo Harrison

Keys to Victory

▪    Free Throw Salvation- After two abysmal games from the charity stripe the Johnnies shot 12-15 from the line and was the difference in the win this time instead of the loss. Sampson shot 7-9 while Jamal Branch sank two clutch free throws in the final seconds to put away the game.
▪    The X Factor: Amir Edition- Amir Garrett can be up and down every other game but against Notre Dame, Garrett had 11 points on 5-7 shooting, three rebounds and three blocks. Garrett had some clutch baskets including one over Notre Dame star Jack Cooley for an and-1.
▪    The X Factor: Dom Edition– Sir’Dominic Pointer may have only played 13 minutes due to fouling out early with 7 minutes left in the game. But Pointers eight points on 4-6 shooting included a couple of jump shots which is good to see Pointers range expand. Pointer also played some ferocious defense that should be noted he has turned up his defensive pressure the past few games.
▪    Bench Play- Christian Jones made his first appearance in Big East play and made some important contributions. Jones had two points, two rebounds, one assist and one steal in eight minutes. This was good for Jones’ confidence and might earn him some of his playing time back that he lost. Chris Obekpa had his first off night, playing only 10 minutes off the bench and recording only two blocks and three rebounds.

Final Prediction: St. John’s Wins, 69-62

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