The winners of three straight and four of its last five on the road entering the weekend, the St. John’s Men’s Basketball team could not extend that streak on Sunday, falling to DePaul, 99-94, at Wintrust Arena.
Julian Champagnie led the way for the Red Storm (15-13, 7-10 BIG EAST), finishing with 26 points, six boards and a pair of steals. Champagnie, who scored 21 points in the second stanza, went 4-for-9 from three-point range.
Aaron Wheeler netted 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting, grabbed seven boards and tallied three rejections.
Posh Alexander stuffed the stat sheet with 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting to go along with eight boards and four assists. Six of the sophomore’s eight rebounds came on the offensive glass.
Stef Smith tallied eight points and dished out a team-high five assists in 22 minutes of action while Dylan Addae-Wusu needed just three shots to score seven points.
DePaul (14-14, 5-13 BIG EAST) shot 55.9 percent from the floor as a team. Javon Freeman-Liberty, the BIG EAST’s leading scorer, logged a career-high 39 points on just 21 field goal tries. He also tallied eight boards and five steals. After missing the last two games with injury, David Jones posted a 24-point, 10-rebound double-double for the Blue Demons.
Both sides found it tough to miss in the early going of the contest, as the teams were tied at 30 with 7:30 still remaining in the first half. From there, the Red Storm struggled to find the bottom of the bucket, scoring just three points over the next four minutes and allowing DePaul to grab a six-point lead.
With the Johnnies trailing by six, 47-41 at the intermission, Champagnie scored 15 of the Red Storm’s first 17 points in the second half, helping his team pull within two, 60-58, with 14:26 to go.
From there, Freeman-Liberty scored 10 points on a 12-4 DePaul run, putting the Blue Demons ahead by double digits for the first time, 72-62, at the midway mark of the period.
With his team trailing by seven, 86-79, and 2:38 to go, Wheeler sparked a 7-2 run to move the Johnnies back within two, 88-86, less than a minute later. Champagnie capped the spurt with an old-fashioned three-point play.
But that was as close as the Johnnies would get, as DePaul went 11-for-13 at the charity in the final 90 seconds to hold off the Red Storm.
St. John’s will play its final home game of the regular season on Wednesday when it welcomes Xavier for Senior Night. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on FS1.