After winning back-to-back games and three of its last four overall, the St. John’s Men’s Basketball team will return to BIG EAST action on Wednesday, traveling to Chicago for a showdown against DePaul at Wintrust Arena.
Tip-off between the Blue Demons and Red Storm is set for 9 p.m. on FS1 and Kevin Fitzgerald and Bill Raftery will handle the broadcasting duties on television while John Minko will provide play-by-by and Brandon Tierney will provide color commentary over the airwaves. The Learfield-IMG College Red Storm Sports Network radio broadcast will also be available through TuneIn Radio as well as SiriusXM.
St. John’s (9-7, 3-6 BIG EAST) and DePaul (3-5, 1-5 BIG EAST) will both look to build upon a stretch of winning basketball as of late. The Red Storm has won three of its last four outings, taking down Butler, then-No. 23 Connecticut and Utah Valley University while falling by just two points at home to Marquette on Jan. 16. The Blue Demons picked up their first win of BIG EAST play on Saturday against the Golden Eagles in Milwaukee.
After recording team-highs of 18 points, six assists and three steals against UConn on MLK Day in front of a national broadcast audience on FOX, Posh Alexander registered his first career 20-point game against Utah Valley en route to BIG EAST Freshman of the Week honors. Alexander, who has reached double figures in each of the team’s last five wins, won the award for the second time this season. The BIG EAST leader in steals at 2.5 per game, Alexander also won the Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association’s Met Player of the Week Award on Tuesday.
Alexander was one of two Johnnies recognized by the conference on Monday, as Julian Champagnie found a spot on the five-member BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll. Champagnie, who took home BIG EAST Player of the Week honors on Jan. 18, leads the league and ranks 35th nationally with 19.9 points per game. He has reached double figures in all 14 of his appearances this season with six 20-point showings, including a career-best 33-point effort at Creighton on Jan. 9.
Alexander and Champagnie led a balanced scoring attack last week, as five players finished in double figures in both of the Red Storm’s victories. Marcellus Earlington, Rasheem Dunn and Dylan Addae-Wusu did it against UConn while Dunn, Vince Cole and Isaih Moore continued the trend against Utah Valley.
Through games played on Monday, St. John’s ranks third nationally with 10.3 steals per outing. On Saturday against Utah Valley, the Johnnies forced the Wolverines into 22 turnovers, 13 of which came via the steal, while surrendering just four possessions of their own. St. John’s will look to keep the pressure up against a DePaul team that ranks last in the BIG EAST with 16.4 turnovers per game.
DePaul saw a 13-point second-half lead evaporate against Marquette on Saturday, but managed to battle back for a 68-61 victory at Fiserv Forum, outscoring the Golden Eagles, 14-5, over the final 2:55. Charlie Moore scored the final 10 points of the game, anchored by an 10-for-10 effort from the charity stripe. Moore tallied a team-high 21 points in the win while Javon Freeman-Liberty, who sparked the final run, finished with 19.
Moore and Freeman-Liberty are the team’s top two scorers this season, averaging 13.9 and 12.4 points per game, respectively.
The Blue Demons have done well to limit their opponents’ success from beyond the arc, leading the BIG EAST with a three-point field goal percentage defense of 29.8. They also force 15.9 turnovers per game, good enough for second in the BIG EAST behind St. John’s (17.8).
St. John’s holds 26-20 edge all-time against its fellow Vincentian school in a series history that dates back to 1932. Since DePaul joined the BIG EAST for the 2005-06 season, the Johnnies own 17-9 advantage.
The two teams have split the regular season series over the past three seasons, as both teams won road games in 2017-18 before the Blue Demons swept in 2018-19 and the Johnnies repaid the favor last year. In the Red Storm’s two victories over DePaul last season, Dunn averaged 16.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists.
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