Monday, February 20, 2012
W2W4: St. John's vs. DePaul
By Kieran Darcy
Here are three things to watch for when St. John's (11-16, 4-10 Big East) takes on DePaul (11-15, 2-12 Big East) on Monday night at Carnesecca Arena.
Tip-off is at 9 p.m., and you can watch the game on ESPNU, or via ESPN3.
ONE MORE TIME: This will be the Red Storm's first game on campus since their 91-67 thrashing of Providence to start the Big East season on Dec. 23. It's also their last game at Carnesecca this season, where they are currently 6-1, the only loss being to Northeastern on Nov. 26.
It's also a repeat matchup -- St. John's won at DePaul, 87-81, on Feb. 1. The Red Storm trailed for much of the game, and Moe Harkless shot just 2-for-15 from the field. But D'Angelo Harrison's career-high 29 points helped lift St. John's to victory. Harrison made seven of his 11 attempts from 3-point range.
POINT(ER) FORWARD: Freshman swingman Sir'Dominic Pointer is coming off arguably his best game of the season in Saturday's win over UCLA, in which he posted 13 points and seven rebounds. Pointer said after the game that the coaching staff had been encouraging him to be more aggressive offensively and look for his shot more -- let's see if he keeps that up against the Blue Demons.
St. John's is still looking for a third reliable scorer, besides Harrison and Harkless. Pointer is erratic from the perimeter, but can penetrate and get to the rim -- and "SportsCenter" viewers know how well he can finish, and his dunks have been featured on the program all season long. He only took three shots in the first meeting with DePaul -- he should be more proactive tonight.
THE FLIP SIDE: While St. John's is coming off an exciting win, DePaul has lost six in a row now -- a streak which started with that home loss to the Red Storm -- and 11 of its past 12. But St. John's better not underestimate the Blue Demons. On Saturday they almost knocked off No. 18 Louisville, losing 90-82 in overtime.
DePaul continues to be led by the tandem of 6-foot-8 sophomore forward Cleveland Melvin (17.7 ppg, 6.8 rpg) and 6-foot-3 sophomore Brandon Young (14.8 ppg, 4.8 apg). In fact, they are the highest-scoring sophomore duo in the nation.
The Blue Demons like to go up and down, averaging 74.1 points per game, 50th in the country. But they are one of the worst teams in the country defensively and on the glass -- No. 330 (out of 338) in field-goal percentage defense (48.6) and No. 334 in rebound margin (minus-7.2 per game).