Tuesday, January 14, 2014
W2W4: St. John's at DePaul
By Kieran Darcy
Here's what to watch for when St. John's (9-6, 0-3 Big East) plays DePaul (9-8, 1-3 Big East) on Tuesday at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois.
Tipoff is at 7 p.m., and you can watch the game on Fox Sports 1.
MAN DOWN? St. John's leading scorer D'Angelo Harrison may not play due to a mild concussion suffered in Saturday's loss to Villanova. Harrison did travel with the team, but will be a game-day decision.
Losing Harrison would be huge -- he is fourth in the Big East in scoring, averaging 18.7 points per game. Only one other St. John's player averages in double figures, Jakarr Sampson (11.9 ppg).
If Harrison can't go, Rysheed Jordan must step up. The freshman showed signs of breaking out against Villanova, scoring 10 of his 12 points in the second half. Jordan needs to be more aggressive, with or without Harrison on the floor.
Update: St. John's announced a half-hour before tipoff that Harrison will start, after passing concussion tests.
BIG DISAPPOINTMENTS: St. John's is getting next to nothing offensively right now from its two primary post players, Orlando Sanchez and Chris Obekpa. Sanchez has scored a grant total of 14 points in the team's first three Big East games and has had a hard time staying on the floor, fouling out in two of the three. Obekpa has scored just seven points in the team's past five games.
Obekpa wasn't expected to score a lot, although he has shown very little improvement in his offensive game from his freshman year. But big things were projected for Sanchez, who is averaging just 6.8 points per game and has cracked double figures only three times (and not since the win over Fordham on Dec. 7).
Sanchez needs to avoid early foul trouble, and give St. John's a scoring threat inside. That'll open things up for players on the perimeter, too.
THE BLUE DEMONS: DePaul was picked to finish last in the Big East, but notched its first conference win last Thursday, a 99-94 double-overtime win at Butler. The Blue Demons lost their first three Big East games, at Georgetown (by seven), at Marquette (by 10) and at home to Creighton (by 19).
Senior forward Cleveland Melvin and senior guard Brandon Young once again lead DePaul in scoring, averaging 16.6 and 14.3 points per game, respectively. Melvin is also the team's leading rebounder (6.5 rpg), and Young is its top assist man (4.1 apg). Freshman guard Billy Garrett Jr. chips in 11.0 points per game. Melvin went off for 30 points in the win over Butler.
The Blue Demons are ranked 74th in Division I in blocked shots per game (4.8), and 83rd in steals per game (7.2). But they are 308th (out of 345) in turnovers per game (14.7).