Rapid Reaction: St. John's 87, DePaul 81
February, 1, 2012
By Kieran Darcy | ESPNNewYork.com
Recap | Box score
WHAT IT MEANS: St. John's continues its improved play, winning its second Big East game in a row, sandwiched around a close loss at Duke last Saturday. Leading scorer Moe Harkless had a tough night (see below), but the young Red Storm proved it could win a conference game, on the road, without big numbers from him.
St. John's is now 10-12 overall, and 4-6 in the conference. DePaul drops to 11-10, and 2-7.
THE SKINNY: This game was tight early. After being tied at 14, DePaul went on a 17-5 run to make it 31-19 with 4:41 left in the first half, as St. John's went ice-cold shooting the basketball. But then the Red Storm closed the half on an 11-0 spurt, propelled by their full-court pressure defense, to cut it to 31-30 at intermission.
DePaul extended the lead back to as many as nine early in the second half, but St. John's countered with a 13-0 run to turn a 59-51 deficit into a 64-59 lead. The Blue Demons tied it at 64, but then the Red Storm answered with a 9-2 stretch to take their largest lead, 73-66 with just under five minutes remaining, and held them off down the stretch.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Harkless, who was coming off a spectacular 30-point, 13-rebound performance against Duke, suffered a knee to one of his quads early in the first half. He gutted through it the rest of the game, but was noticeably limping at times, and shot just 2-for-15 from the field, finishing with nine points.
Several teammates picked him up. D'Angelo Harrison poured in a career-high 29 points -- 21 of them coming in the second half -- shooting 7-for-11 from beyond the arc. (Harrison was one trey short of tying the school record.) God'sgift Achiuwa had his best game in quite a while, scoring 15 points and making all seven of his shots from the field, very active around the rim. Phil Greene, playing in his hometown, tied his career high with 14 points, shooting 7-for-12 from the field. Amir Garrett had 12 points, and Sir'Dominic Pointer chipped in eight.
NUMBER CRUNCH: Talk about a tale of two halves! St. John's shot a woeful 28.1 percent in the first half (9-for-32), and a hard-to-believe 73.3 percent in the second half (22-for-30). Harrison was hot from the perimeter, while the others did a lot of damage off of steals, penetration and the offensive glass.
WHAT'S NEXT: St. John's faces No. 2-ranked Syracuse, which will reportedly will have starting center Fab Melo back in the lineup, on Saturday afternoon at Madison Square Garden. Tip-off is at noon.