Four different Johnnies scored 15 points or more on Wednesday as the Red Storm men’s basketball team rode yet another balanced scoring attack to an 81-68 win over DePaul at Wintrust Arena.
With the win, St. John’s (10-7, 4-6 BIG EAST) has now won three straight and four of its last five overall. The only loss during this recent stretch came by just two points.
Starting his second straight game in place of the injured Greg Williams Jr., Vince Cole tallied his highest single-game scoring total of BIG EAST play, netting a team-high 18 points in 34 minutes of action. The former junior college All-American shot 7-of-16 from the floor and 3-of-8 from beyond the arc.
The leading scorer in the BIG EAST entering the contest, Julian Champagnie drained three of his five tries from distance during a 16-point, six-rebound effort.
Posh Alexander reached double figures for the third straight game, scoring 12 of his 15 points in the first half. The freshman guard also grabbed six boards, dished out five assists and registered three steals.
Isaih Moore was nearly perfect from the floor, going 6-for-6 from inside the arc and 3-for-3 from the line for 15 points. The 6-foot-10 junior also recorded three steals and a block.
Rasheem Dunn finished with seven points and fell one shy of his career-high with nine assists. The redshirt senior guard surrendered only one turnover in 34 minutes.
Despite playing only 10 minutes due to foul trouble, Josh Roberts managed to match a season-high with seven rebounds. Dylan Addae-Wusu chipped in six points, three boards and a pair of assists in 16 minutes of action.
After shooting 52.8 percent in the opening half and holding a 15-point lead at the intermission, St. John’s watched DePaul (3-6, 1-6 BIG EAST) make a series of runs in the second half as the Red Storm’s offense cooled off. The Johnnies, however, managed to keep the Blue Demons at bay thanks in large part to turnovers. The Red Storm converted 18 DePaul miscues into 30 points, marking the third time this season that St. John’s has scored 30 or more points off turnovers in a single game.
Trailing 13-11 following a back-and-forth start to the contest, the Red Storm rattled off a 10-1 run to move ahead 21-14 with just over 14 minutes remaining. Moore scored the first seven points of the tear, throwing down a pair of dunks and converting on an old-fashioned three-point play.
Javon Freeman-Liberty stopped the bleeding with a bucket before the Johnnies added five more, extending the run to 15-3 and taking their first double-digit lead of the evening with 11:34 remaining in the opening half.
DePaul answered with five points in the span of 30 seconds to quickly shave the St. John’s lead back to five, but the Red Storm responded with a 10-2 spurt to move ahead by 13, 36-23, on an Alexander layup with 7:52 to play.
The Blue Demons whittled the deficit down to single digits on a pair of occasions over the next three minutes before St. John’s outscored them 11-4 to close the half.
Leading 49-34 at the break, the Johnnies saw DePaul slowly chip away at their lead, eventually pulling within seven, 66-59, with just over six minutes to go following a four-minute St. John’s scoring drought.
With the lead at its smallest margin since the 10-minute mark of the first half, St. John’s answered with an 8-0 run, pushing its advantage back to 15, 74-59, with 3:42 to play. Champagnie started the spurt with a layup before Alexander converted on a three-point play and Cole drained a corner triple in front of the St. John’s bench with the shot clock expiring.
Dunn went 4-for-4 from the line in the final minute to ice the game.
The Red Storm was scheduled to return to action on Sunday at Carnesecca Arena against UConn, but that game has been postponed due to quarantine issues with the Huskies. Following the postponement of Sunday’s scheduled contest with Connecticut at Carnesecca Arena, the St. John’s men’s basketball team will now travel to Milwaukee for a Sunday matinee with Marquette.
Tip-off from Fiserv Forum is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX and 570 AM WNYM. Brandon Guadin and Nick Bahe will call the game on television while John Minko will handle play-by-play and Tarik Turner will provide color commentary on the radio.
St. John’s (10-7, 4-6 BIG EAST), which has won three straight and four of its last five, will meet Marquette for the second time in a span of 15 days. The Golden Eagles (8-8, 4-6 BIG EAST) have handed the Johnnies their only loss during this recent stretch of success, a two-point defeat at Carnesecca Arena on Jan. 16. Both teams were in action Wednesday, as Marquette fell in over at Providence while St. John’s handled DePaul in Chicago.
The Red Storm, which defeated then-No. 23 UConn in Storrs on Martin Luther King Day in another national broadcast on FOX, will look to make it three BIG EAST road victories in a row for the first time since 2012-13.
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