St. John’s basketball hangs on for victory after fast start against DePaul

St. John's basketball guard Posh Alexander (Photo by Porter Binks/Getty Images)
St. John's basketball guard Posh Alexander (Photo by Porter Binks/Getty Images) /

St. John’s basketball held off DePaul for its third straight victory after a fast start. 

It was arguably the best half the St. John’s basketball program played in the Big East Conference this season.

The Johnnies (10-7, 4-6 Big East) held a 15-point lead over DePaul (3-6, 1-6 Big East) and did not have Greg Williams Jr. (back), saw its star Julian Champagnie leave with an ankle injury, were being out-rebounded, in foul trouble, and were only 6-of-12 from the free throw line.

Despite all that, the Red Storm still led the Blue Demons 49-34 at halftime but DePaul would slowly chip away at the St. John’s lead, coming within seven midway through the second half.

However, DePaul could not capitalize on the St. John’s mistakes as the Johnnies tallied off eight points in a row to ice the game, eventually winning 81-68.

“We’re playing for each other” head coach Mike Anderson said following his team’s victory.

St. John’s has now matched its longest winning streak of the season, three, and won its second straight Big East road game for the first time since the 2018-19 season when the program defeated Creighton and Marquette.

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Vince Cole, making his second straight start for the injured Williams Jr., led all scorers with 18 points on 7-of-16 shooting from the field.

“What we lack, [Cole] brings to the table,” Anderson said of his junior shooting guard.

“We’re just hungry…we feel like we can be one of the best team’s in the Big East,” Cole told the media after the game.

Freshman guard Posh Alexander continued his stretch of stellar play after posting 15 points, six rebounds, five assists, and three steals while Champagnie seemed to be bothered by his various ailments with 16 points and six rebounds on 6-of-15 shooting.

“It’s a little bit of everything,” Anderson said about his star forward’s injuries, “It’s called life in the Big East.”

Champagnie entered Tuesday’s game as the conference’s leading scorer, averaging 19.9 points per game.

Isaih Moore, only playing 14 minutes, finished with 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting and a few highlight reel dunks.

St. John’s basketball could be back on the court sooner than expected

At the conclusion of the Fox Sports 1 broadcast, the network reported that St. John’s will travel to Marquette (8-8, 4-6 Big East) on Saturday after its scheduled meeting with UConn (8-3, 5-3 Big East) was postponed because of contact tracing.

An official who worked the Connecticut-Butler game on Tuesday night tested positive for COVID-19 and the Huskies are entering a modified quarantine, postponing its next two games while Butler has not announced if it will briefly pause.

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However, a St. John’s spokesman said nothing is official in regards to the potential matchup between the Red Storm and the Golden Eagles.

As of now, the Johnnies are not scheduled to be back on the court until Wednesday, February 3 against the No. 3 Villanova Wildcats (10-1, 5-0 Big East) inside Carnesecca Arena (9:00pm EST, CBS Sports Network).

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