St. John’s basketball gets career night from Julian Champagnie in huge win

St. John's basketball forward Julian Champagnie (Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports)
St. John's basketball forward Julian Champagnie (Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports) /

It was a career night for a couple of St. John’s basketball standouts in a massive win over DePaul. 

There are not ‘must-wins’ in college basketball on January 5 but it sure felt like this was a game the St. John’s basketball team had to have.

The Johnnies (9-3, 1-0 Big East) were hosting DePaul (9-4, 0-3 Big East) coming off of an 18-day layoff induced by multiple positive COVID-19 tests within the program.

St. John’s last took the floor in an embarrassing loss to Pittsburgh, without star forward Julian Champagnie, and it knew it had to take care of business against the Blue Demons at home.

“There’s a lot that has been thrown at us…how they’re going to come, you never know,” head coach Mike Anderson said of his team coming out of its pause.

Julian Champagnie came out like his hair was on fire.

The junior forward posted career high numbers in points and rebounds with 34 points, 16 rebounds, and three blocks in an 89-84 victory.

“Nothing surprises me with this kid,” Anderson continued.

Champagnie had not played in a game since December 12 after testing positive for COVID prior to St. John’s game against Pittsburgh.

“I was in the gym for four hours,” Champagnie recalls of his first time back on the court after his quarantine.

The Johnnies were still without Rafael Pinzon due to COVID-19 protocols while Tareq Coburn, who did test positive for the virus, was out with a back injury.

Esahia Nyiwe played with a KN95 mask on and Stef Smith wore the same mask on the bench, despite not getting into the game.

St. John’s basketball sees another career night against DePaul

In addition to the heroics of Julian Champagnie, the biggest shot of the night came off the finger tips of Dylan Addae-Wusu with 28.4 seconds left as the sophomore guard drained a 3-pointer which pushed the St. John’s lead to six, 87-81.

Addae-Wusu finished with a career-best 17 points and eight assists as he started the game at point guard with Posh Alexander coming off the bench.

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Alexander chipped in 16 points for the Johnnies with Montez Mathis, who was limited by foul trouble, adding 11 points to the winning cause.

Things will get more challenging for St. John’s as the Red Storm will have three of its next four games on the road, as a two-game road trip begins against No. 16 Providence (13-2, 3-1 Big East) on Saturday and wraps up with a visit to Connecticut (10-3, 1-1 Big East) next Wednesday night.

Next. St. John’s year in review: Top-5 moments of 2021. dark