GAME NOTES: The St. John's Red Storm and the DePaul Blue Demons will go head- to-head on Tuesday evening in a battle of Big East Conference competitors at Allstate Arena.
The Red Storm is still in search of its first conference victory, as a three- game losing streak since the league schedule began has dropped the team to 9-6 overall. They have only played two true road games, but fell in both. St. John's will start a three-game homestand next against Providence.
As for DePaul, it will be attempting to build upon its first league win of the campaign after it topped Butler in two overtimes last Thursday, 99-94. The victory ended a three-game losing streak for the Blue Demons, who are hovering just above the .500 mark on the season (9-8). They will visit sixth-ranked Villanova next.
St. John's has dominated DePaul of late, with wins in eight straight meetings. The recent success has lifted the Red Storm to a 17-14 edge in the all-time series.
Villanova was St. John's most recent opponent, and the Wildcats prevailed in a 74-67 decision. The Red Storm led 33-31 at halftime, but shot just 35.5 percent from the floor in the second half on their way to the home loss.
D'Angelo Harrison (18.7 ppg), who is fourth in the Big East in scoring, tallied 22 points in the loss to Villanova. Although it came in defeat, the effort was a welcome improvement for the 6-foot-4 guard, who netted just four points on 1-of-12 shooting in a 77-60 loss to Georgetown in the previous game. The Red Storm are not fortunate enough to have many other scorers though, with JaKarr Sampson (11.9 ppg, 6.8 rpg) the only other player averaging in double figures. Chris Obekpa (3.3 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 4.1 bpg) may not add much in scoring, but he is a strong defender in the post, ranking second in the nation in blocked shots.
DePaul was trailing Butler by 11 points late in the second half, but the Blue Demons ripped off an 11-0 run in the final minutes of regulation to force overtime. They nearly pulled off the win in the first extra session, but a last-second floater from Butler's Jackson Aldridge extended the game. The Blue Demons scored the first five points in the second overtime to pull ahead for good.
For the Blue Demons, the duo of Cleveland Melvin (16.6 ppg, 6.5 rpg) and Brandon Young (14.3 ppg, 4.1 apg) leads the way. Melvin is a strong scorer who can get his shot off in the paint, but he is also comfortable with stepping out to knock down shots from beyond the arc. Young is not just skilled in scoring but in distributing, as he is among the top-10 players in the conference in assists. Billy Garrett (11 ppg, 3.4 apg) aids Young in the backcourt, but he is only shooting 34.2 percent from the floor. Tommy Hamilton (9.1 ppg, 5.2 rpg) shores up the frontcourt.
There are talented pieces on both sides of this matchup, but both teams have major flaws as well. On the road, the inconsistent Red Storm may not be able to connect on enough shots to knock off the Blue Demons.
Game Date and Time