The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, March 2, 12 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Madison Square Garden (18,200) -- New York, New York. Television: CBSSN. Home Record: DePaul 8-8, SJU 13-4. Away Record: DePaul 3-8, SJU 3-5. Neutral Record: DePaul 0-2, SJU 2-2. Conference Record: DePaul 3-13, SJU 8-8. Series Record: St. John's leads, 17-15.
GAME NOTES: St. John's will play its final home game of the season on Sunday, as the Red Storm contend with the DePaul Blue Demons in a Big East Conference squabble at Madison Square Garden.
St. John's, which is 13-4 at home this season, finds itself squarely on the bubble of NCAA Tournament consideration as the regular season nears its conclusion. The Red Storm, who are 18-11 overall, but just 8-8 in league play, have not helped themselves of late with losses in back-to-back games entering this contest. They finish up the campaign next Saturday against Marquette.
DePaul's postseason hopes are all but dashed, barring a miracle run in the Big East Tournament. The Blue Demons are just 11-18 overall and 3-13 against the rest of the conference. However, they did manage to end a 10-game losing streak last time out by topping Seton Hall in a 65-60 final. They will visit Butler on Thursday to finish the regular season.
One of the very few league wins for DePaul was earned against St. John's on Jan. 14, as the Blue Demons escaped with a 77-75 triumph. St. John's had won the previous eight meetings and still holds a slight edge in the all-time series (17-15).
Brandon Young led four players in double figures, netting 19 points to push DePaul past Seton Hall last time out. The Blue Demons shot a scorching 60 percent from the floor and knocked down 17-of-18 attempts at the free-throw line. They also owned a 24-16 advantage on the glass.
Young (15.7 ppg, 3.7 apg) is virtually alone as a scoring threat, at least in terms of consistent efforts. His burden became even heavier when leading scorer Cleveland Melvin (16.7 ppg) left the team at the end of January. Young has scored in double figures in every game since Melvin's departure and has shot at a 50 percent clip in four of the last five outings. Billy Garrett (12.4 ppg) is the second option now, but he is only shooting 36 percent from the field. He finished with 15 points against Seton Hall, while Durrell McDonald (5.6 ppg) had a rare 15 points as well.
While DePaul was hot from the floor last time out, St. John's was anything but in suffering a 65-53 loss to Xavier. The Red Storm only connected on 36.7 percent of their total shots, including a paltry 2-of-16 effort from 3-point range. JaKarr Sampson was the leading scorer, with 14 points on 7-of-17 shooting.
Even more troubling than the team's overall shooting woes, was the play of leading scorer D'Angelo Harrison (17.3 ppg). Harrison, who has often suffered from dry spells as a 37.8 percent shooting this season, finished with only four points on 1-of-11 from the field in the loss to Seton Hall. Sampson (12.8 ppg, 6.2 rpg) is the only other double figure scorer on the roster, with Rysheed Jordan (9 ppg) standing in as the third option. Chris Obekpa (4.1 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 3 bpg) doesn't add much offensively, but he is the best shot-blocker in the Big East.
The Red Storm need a win in this contest, as they can't count on a win on the road against Marquette. If Harrison can get back in gear then St. John's should be able to stop its skid.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: St. John's 68, DePaul 60
03/02 10:38:30 ET