Saturday, January 25, 2020

Green's five takeaways from St. John's 79-66 win at DePaul

Photo Credit: Geno Green

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

With both teams desperate for a win in league play, the St. John’s Red Storm (13-8, 2-6 Big East) plowed through the DePaul Blue Demons (13-7, 1-6 Big East), 79-66 thanks to timely three-point shooting from LJ Figueroa and Mustapha Heron. The hot shooting leads off my five takeaways from Wintrust Arena.

1) All Figueroa, all the time:

After being held to nine points in 22 minutes, in the first meeting against DePaul on Jan. 11, LJ Figueroa responded with authority as the junior finished with career-highs in points (28) and three-point makes (seven).

The most significant make came with 5:07 left in regulation as DePaul put together one final surge, but Figueroa would silence the crowd with a lethal three-point make from the baseline.

The Blue Demons would only make one field goal after the make and missed 15 of their last 17 attempts, while the Red Storm made their final five from the field.

2) Heron struck from long range:

Mustapha Heron provided the perfect complement to Figueroa as 13 of his 20 points came in the second half and went 4-of-9 from long range.

Known for their ability to get steals as the top team in the nation in that category, three-point shooting happened to be the difference as they went 13-of-32 (40.6 percent).

3) DePaul’s free-throw woes:

One of the biggest factors in DePaul’s struggles in Big East play has been its woeful free-throw shooting. Saturday’s result proved to be no better as the Blue Demons went 22-of-34 with Butz going 3-of-9.

Free throws continue to be a major achilles heel for the Blue Demons and will be almost impossible to win games down the stretch if that doesn’t get fixed.

4) Moore to the rescue:

In need of a change of pace on offense in the second half, Charlie Moore delivered as he started to attack the basket with ease and had a personal 6-0 run to pull DePaul to 56-52 with 7:21 left.

Despite Moore’s best efforts, the outburst would not be enough as the junior finished with a game-high 20 points, on 9-of-10 from the free-throw mark in defeat.

5) From a lock to the bubble:

Despite an impressive slate of non-conference wins against teams such as, Iowa, Texas Tech and Minnesota, DePaul has regressed back to its losing ways in Big East play.

The Blue Demons will have to claw back from a 1-6 start, but face an uphill climb with four of their next five games away from Wintrust Arena. The start of the stretch presents a trip to Seton Hall, who is riding a nine-game winning streak and has arguably the best player in the Big East in Myles Powell.

Each game for the Blue Demons now serves as its own tournament game, but has the roster capable of making magic happen.

Time will tell if it is too little, too late.