DePaul (11-15) at St. John's (11-16)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, February 20th, 9:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Carnesecca Arena (5,602) -- Queens, New York. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: DePaul 6-8, St. John's 9-6. Away Record: DePaul 3-6, St. John's 2-8. Neutral Record: DePaul 2-1, St. John's 0-2. Conference Record: DePaul 2-12, St. John's 4-10. Series Record: Series is tied, 14-14.
GAMES NOTES: With the regular season nearing its conclusion, two struggling teams in the Big East will fight for some momentum as the DePaul Blue Demons and St. John's Red Storm square off at Carnesecca Arena.
These teams met earlier this month when St. John's walked out of Allstate Arena with an 87-81 victory. The win tied the all-time series at 14-14 although the Red Storm has won five straight and six of nine since DePaul joined the Big East for the 2005-06 season.
The loss to the Red Storm began a six-game losing streak for DePaul dropping the Blue Demons to 2-12 in conference play, just a half game ahead of the last place spot currently held by Providence.
St. John's got its first win since facing DePaul when it took a 66-63 decision against UCLA over the weekend. Before that the Red Storm had fallen in four straight games. At 4-10 in the Big East, St. John's is in a three-way tie with Pittsburgh and Villanova near the bottom of the conference.
In its last loss, DePaul pushed No. 19 Louisville to the brink but couldn't pull out the victory as the Blue Demons fell 90-82 in overtime. DePaul shot 48.5 percent from the floor in the game but was done in by a 36-18 discrepancy from three-point range along with 20 turnovers.
The Blue Demons are powered by a pair of sophomores that were in top form against Louisville. Brandon Young (14.8 ppg, 4.8 apg) poured in a career-high 27 points and handed out five assists in the losing effort. Young has shown an explosive scoring ability a number of times this season with seven games of at least 20 points. Cleveland Melvin is the team's leading scorer (17.7 ppg) and rebounder (6.8 rpg) and after posting a 14-point, 10-rebound double-double against Louisville, he has now scored in double figures in nine straight games. The Blue Demons have no other player scoring consistently in double figures but that hasn't seemed to hurt the team's overall offensive efforts this season, as DePaul is scoring 74.1 points per game which is the third highest mark in the Big East. Where the Blue Demons struggle is on defense, where they are allowing 76.7 points per contest. Rebounding has also been a problem area, where DePaul has been the worst team in the conference at just 32.5 rebounds per game.
St. John's shot just 36.4 percent from the field but matched UCLA in total field goals with 24 in the Red Storm's 66-63 victory on Saturday. St. John's also did a better job than the Bruins in holding onto the ball as the Red Storm forced 17 turnovers while committing only 11 as a team.
The Red Storm are a very young team this season with four of the five starters playing in their first year of Division I basketball. The two rookies who have really stepped up for St. John's are D'Angelo Harrison and Moe Harkless. Harrison, a guard, is the team's leading scorer on the season (16.9 ppg) and was at it again against UCLA as he poured in a game-high 22 points while also collecting eight rebounds and handing out four assists. Harkless plays more of a swingman position with the size to go inside thanks to his 6-8 frame along with an ability to spread the floor. Harkless (15.7 ppg, 8.7 rpg) is the only other player averaging in double figures for the Red Storm while also leading the team on the boards. Although a junior, God'sgift Achiuwa (9.4 ppg, 5.7 rpg) has been a solid contributor in just his first year after transferring to St. John's from the junior college ranks. The youthful Red Storm have not been as prolific a scoring team as the Blue Demons, putting in 66.8 points per game while shooting the second worst percentage from the floor (.420) in the conference.
With DePaul's Melvin and Young squaring off with St. John's Harrison and Harkless this game will come down to which squad can get more help from the rest of the roster. Expect the Red Storm, led by Achiuwa, to play well on its homecourt and grab another win over the Blue Demons.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: St. John's 74, DePaul 67
02/20 10:33:13 ET