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St. John’s Beats DePaul, Wins Third Straight Game

(Photo by Double G Media)

(Photo by Double G Media)

The year is starting out right for St. John’s who shows how far the team and coach Chris Mullin are coming with their third straight win. The 79-73 win over DePaul on Sunday comes just days after winning against a ranked opponent which was the first in three years.

Marcus LoVett, a strong teammate for the Johnnies, had his fourth 20-plus point game of the season. He made six of his seven free throw attempts. Shamorie Ponds contributed 15 points to the score and had four steals, which marks the fifth time this season. Bronx native, Bashir Ahmed recorded 14 points.

Darien Williams and Tariq Owens combined for 13 points on a 14-9 run that began with the contest tied at 59 and just under seven minutes to play. Williams made all four of his free throw attempts while also creating a career-high of nine rebounds. Owens, who is also the leading shot blocker in the BIG EAST, rejected four Blue Demon shot attempts in addition to scoring nine points and capturing five rebounds. Malik Ellison scored seven points while recording a career-high eight assists and tying a career-high six rebounds.

The Johnnies had a slow start from the field, making only one of its first nine shot attempts while DePaul (7-8, 0-2 BIG EAST) made four of its first seven shots including a two 3-pointers. Down by 12, 17-5, and seven minutes into the game, St. John’s cut the deficit to just three, 17-14, with 10:29 left to play in the half. DePaul got its lead back to eight, 24-16, but the Johnnies responded with an 11-0 run to get it it’s first lead of the game, 27-24, with 7:41 left.

With a Johnnies lead, DePaul finished the half on a 16-6 run, as Chris Harrison-Docks came off the bench to score nine points, helping the Blue Demons take a seven-point lead, 40-33, into the half time.

The Red Storm had an outrageous second half, scoring the half’s first five points and bring the deficit down by one, 42-41, on Ahmed’s fourth 3-pointer of the game with 16:46 to go. DePaul then came back again to bring its lead back up to as many as five, 51-46, but the St. John’s backcourt fired back, giving the Johnnies its first lead of the half. Both LoVett and Ponds combined for a 7-0 run, putting the Red Storm in the lead, 53-51, with 11:32 still left in the game.

DePaul responded back with five in a row to lead by three, 56-53 and St. John’s came back with a 6-0 run. The Blue Demons’ Billy Garret shot a 3-pointer to tie the game at 59 with just under seven minutes to play but was also the last time in the game that DePaul would pull even with the Red Storm.

Owens made a three-point play to put the Red Storm back ahead by three before Williams made four-straight free throws to create the lead to seven, 66-59. Williams and Owens combined for 13 points in the final period letting the Red Storm outscore DePaul 14-9 and take a five-point lead, 73-68, with only 80 seconds left to play. The win marked the first time this season that the Red Storm would erase a halftime deficit to come back and win.

St. John’s returns to action on Wednesday, looking for its third-consecutive win to start league play against No. 10/9 Creighton inside Carnesecca Arena at 8:30 p.m.  The contest will be broadcast nationally on FS1 and can be heard on 570 AM WMCA.

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