St. John’s Looks to Keep Winning Streak Alive Against DePaul

A four game win streak is in the books as the St. John’s Red Storm come back to their on campus home, Carnesecca Arena and look to take down DePaul for the second time this season. The Red Storm defeated the Blue Demons on January 19th by a score of 71-62 on the road. They return home a more together and complete team.

With their win against Seton Hall on Sunday at the Garden this Red Storm team matched its win total from last year with 13. There is no where to go but up and coach Steve Lavin knows that.

“With this group, because they lost last year, just like with the team I inherited from Norm [Roberts], which had previously had no degree of success, the questions becomes how do you teach them to win,” said Lavin. “But also build that confidence that you need to win games. With all of our losses last year and our struggles this year, this team understands that it’s a tightrope in this league. If you don’t execute for 40 minutes, you’re in trouble.”

And execute the Johnnies will try to do as they go for their fifth straight win and stay at the top of the Big East for now. The Johnnies are currently tied with Louisville for third in the conference and are behind only Syracuse and Marquette.

Game Information
Date: Wednesday, January 30th, 2013
Location: Carnesecca Arena- Queens, New York
Time: 9:00 PM EST
Radio: WBBR 1130 AM (John Minko)

DePaul Blue Demons  (10-9, 1-5)
Head Coach: Oliver Purnell

DePaul has had only one one game since they hosted the Red Storm at home and it was not a great showing for Oliver Purnell’s squad.  93-55 blowout at the hands of Pittsburgh was not the way Purnell had envisioned things going and the Blue Demons have no lost four straight and have only one win in conference.

Having already lost to St. John’s this season, this young DePaul squad will look to take one back to Chicago with them. After the long layoff Cleveland Melvin was not on the top of his game against Pitt, only scoring seven points and grabbing five rebounds while shooting 3-14 from the field. Brandon Young was the high scorer in the game with 13 points, five rebounds and five assists on 3-16 shooting.

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

St. John’s (13-7, 5-3)
Head Coach: Steve Lavin

JaKarr Sampson is half way to history. Sampson picked up his fifth Big East Rookie of the Week award and is five away from tying Carmelo Anthony’s record for 10 awards in a season, with five weeks of awards left in the season. Last years Big East Rookie of the Year Moe Harkless only had two awards to his name.

Sampson has a good week averaging 20 points a game and six rebounds on 50% shooting from the field. Sampson leads the Big East freshman in scoring (14.3) and rebounding (6.5) and is tied for eight in rejections (1.3).

As for sophomore guard D’Angelo Harrison who’s clutch shot making helped secure a win against Seton Hall was names to his sixth Big East Weekly Honor Roll. Harrison averaged 22 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists while shooting 48% from the field in a slump busting week. Harrison still leads the Big East in scoring averaging 19.8 points and is 17th nationally in scoring.

Projected Starting Lineup:
F JaKarr Sampson
F Sir’Dominic Pointer
G Jamal Branch
G Phil Greene
G D’Angelo Harrison

Keys to Victory

  • Three guard lineup- The three guard lineup of Jamal Branch, Phil Greene and D’Angelo Harrison has been positive and one of the reasons that the Johnnies have been able to run off four straight. Branch had his finest game of the season against DePaul scoring 18 points while Phil Greene was finally back in form when he shot 4-8 from the field and had 10 points against Seton Hall.
  • Short bench- Steve Lavin has gone to a shorter bench of late, playing only 3 guys off the bench. Amir Garrett, Chris Obekpa and Felix Balamou. Garrett and Balamou’s minutes have decreased but are still being effective. Garrett had four points, two rebounds and a steal against Seton Hall in 11 minutes.
  • Contain Melvin & Young- Pittsburgh did a good job of forcing Cleveland Melvin and Brandon Young, the two standouts of the Blue Demons to shoot a combined 6-30 from the field. The Red Storm will look to do the same, last time out Young struggled going 2-11 from the field but Melvin had a solid 16 points and eight rebounds.
  • Build a lead, protect it- The Red Storm has had a problem keeping their double digit leads in double digits in the second half. The Storm build a 16 point lead against Seton Hall and it was eventually brought down to one point. Same thing can be said in their wins against Notre Dame and DePaul during this streak. It shows character to be able to defy that type of adversity but it is also easier to keep playing your game for an easy win.

Final Prediction: St. John’s wins 70-56

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