St. John's beats men's basketball 87-81
Blue Demons let 9-point lead slip in second half
Published: Thursday, February 2, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 16:08
The streak will have to wait.
The DePaul Blue Demons men's basketball team could not put together a complete 40-minute effort on Wednesday night as they lost to St. John's 87-81 at Allstate Arena.
DePaul (11-10, 2-7 Big East) have not won consecutive Big East games since the 2007-08 season. Although they looked like they were poised to end that streak tonight, the Red Storm's barrage of three point shots and a suffocating full-court press put the Blue Demons at a loss.
"I liked our approach in the first half, I liked our pace," head coach Oliver Purnell said about the first 20 minutes that saw the Blue Demons lead by as much as 12. "Then inexplicably, we didn't handle their pressure very well."
The pressure Purnell was referring to was the press that St. John's went to in an attempt to slow down DePaul. It worked, as the Red Storm forced turnovers in the backcourt that led to easy layups on back to back possessions.
Brandon Young and Worrel Clahar, the two primary ballhandlers in the game, combined for 11 turnovers. Purnell called that "one of the key factors" in the game. It was also compounded by the absence of senior guard Jeremiah Kelly, who did not play due to an undisclosed injury.
"I had no idea he wasn't going to play," Purnell admitted, saying the athletic trainer told him it was something "muscular" and he couldn't get warmed up right before the game.
The Blue Demons were able to build a lead as large as nine in the second half, but could not sustain it thanks to the hot shooting of St. John's guard D'Angelo Harrison, who scored 29 points on 7-of-11 shooting behind the arc.
"We didn't find him and he got hot," Moses Morgan responded when asked to explain Harrison's lights out shooting.
Morgan himself did all he could to keep DePaul in the game, turning in a career-high 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting and 5-of-9 from three-point range. He was one of three Blue Demons in double-figures scoring, with Cleveland Melvin chipping in a team-high 22 points and Young scoring 13.
"I knew I was going to get my shots because they play that zone," Morgan acknowledged. Purnell agreed, calling it a "typical game for him."
"He made some shots, that was it."
DePaul will be back in action on Saturday when they travel to Cincinnati. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. central time.