St. John's defense chokes DePaul
The past few games the DePaul offense had been steadily progressing, but Wednesday night against St. John's was a harsh reversal of course. A veteran Red Storm team didn't allow the Blue Demons to get many open looks inside and clamped down on every DePaul player besides Cleveland Melvin. The result? A 76-51 road loss.
The 51 points in 67 possessions works out to an offensive efficiency of 76.1 points per 100 possessions. That's the second worst rate the Blue Demons have put up in conference play, and the third worst this season.
DePaul's defense against St. John's actually wasn't that bad. The Red Storm finished with an efficiency of 108.6. That's better than all but four Big East games this season. In fact, when the Blue Demons have played defense at that level they've typically been in the game.
This game though was far from typical. The biggest struggles came from Brandon Young. He was bottled up by the St. John's defenders. In fact, while his three-point shot at the end of the first half was a nice note to go out on, it was also representative of how he was guarded because of what a difficult shot it was. Young finished with 10 shots and 3 turnovers. His offensive rating was a dismal 38.5.
Young's play is a huge key for the Blue Demons. With the rest of the team barely treading water his struggles eventually managed to sink the offense's ship. Credit St. John's for playing excellent defense and a veteran team for doing exactly what it had to do to get a win.
Melvin ended up scoring 16 points in 17 possessions and continuing to bolster his resume for the Big East's Freshman of the Year. It's an award he certainly deserves.
Now it's time for the Blue Demons to refocus and prepare for South Florida on Saturday. Before the Providence game this was the one everyone was targeting for DePaul's first conference win. Maybe instead it can be the Blue Demons' second.