DePaul’s 77-75 win over St. John’s second straight in Big East
BY TONI GINNETTI Staff Reporter January 14, 2014 8:28PM
DePaul guard Billy Garrett Jr., left, celebrates with guard Brandon Young after DePaul defeated Northwestern 57-56 in an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Dec. 27, 2013, in Evanston, Ill. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Updated: January 15, 2014 10:50PM
Senior guard Brandon Young split two free throws with one second left Tuesday to seal DePaul’s 77-75 victory against St. John’s at Allstate Arena.
But Young and his teammates said their double-overtime victory Thursday at Butler was the intangible that made the difference against the Red Storm.
‘‘We went through a lot of adversity at Butler, so we knew what to expect,’’ Young said. ‘‘We didn’t want any negative energy coming in.’’
Freshman guard Billy Garrett scored 21 points and Young 19 to lead the Blue Demons (10-8, 2-3 Big East), but their combined 10 assists — five by each player — were just as significant and came at critical points in the game.
‘‘That’s playing together and trusting one another and knowing if you pass it, they can make the shot,’’ Young said.
DePaul trailed late in its game at Butler before scoring the last 11 points of regulation to tie the score and eventually prevailing 99-94 in double overtime.
‘‘The win at Butler had a lot to do with this win,’’ Garrett said. ‘‘Late in this game we were down by four, but we stayed together. It paid off for us. And it will pay off in the next game, too.’’
The result gave the Blue Demons back-to-back victories in Big East play for the first time in six seasons.
‘‘I’m not going to call that turning a corner,’’ DePaul coach Oliver Purnell said. ‘‘But we talked before the game about making a statement [with a] win at home.
‘‘We continued the theme that we have to play better longer. We had a stretch in the first half where we struggled to score, and our defense kept us in the game.
‘‘We did a good job moving our feet and getting big rebound after big rebound all night.’’
The score was tied 38-38 at the half, and the teams traded the lead 15 times. There also were 16 ties.
St. John’s led 74-70 after D’Angelo Harrison made a jumper with 4:35 left. But it was the last field goal for the Red Storm (9-7, 0-4), which remained winless in the conference.
‘‘We hurried a couple of shots, and some others we just missed,’’ St. John’s coach Steve Lavin said.
Freshman center Tommy Hamilton IV (13 points) blocked one of the Red Storm’s shots down the stretch, and senior forward Cleveland Melvin (16 points, seven rebounds, six blocks) gave the Blue Demons a 76-75 lead with a basket with 2:19 left.
‘‘You have to credit DePaul,’’ said Harrison, who led St. John’s with 24 points. ‘‘They did a good job down the stretch. Garrett is an athletic kid and can play. He was on.’’
DePaul had more assists (14) than turnovers (12).
‘‘Guards win for you,’’ Purnell said. ‘‘They had control of the game. And Cleve hung in there [13 second-half points] and came through for us in the end. That’s what you have to do: believe in the last six minutes that if you hang in there, you can win.’’