St. John's 76, DePaul 71: Red Storm Roll To Fifth Straight Victory

-- On Monday, St. John's was ranked in the Top 25 for the first time since 2000. According to SB Nation New York's Jared Smith, what's to come next for the Red Storm is just icing on the cake. -- What more St. John's basketball, check out SB Nation's Rumble In the Garden.

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St. John's 76, DePaul 51 Final Score: Red Storm Roll To Fifth Straight Victory

(Sports Network) -- Dwight Hardy finished with 21 points, leading 23rd-ranked St. John's basketball program in a 76-51 rout of DePaul at Carnesecca Arena.

Paris Horne scored 14 points for St. John's (18-9, 10-5 Big East), which is back in the national rankings for the first time in 11 years. The resurgent Red Storm joined the poll this week for the first time since November 2000. D.J. Kennedy had 11 points and 10 rebounds in the victory, the fifth in a row for St. John's.

"Tonight's victory is an example of a team developing a hard edge and maturity that will bode well for us coming down the home stretch and into the postseason," said St. John's head coach Steve Lavin.

Cleveland Melvin scored 16 points to lead the Blue Demons (7-20, 1-14), who have dropped two in a row since beating Providence. DePaul head coach Oliver Purnell said his team did not play well, but added that the Red Storm's 2-3 zone defense played a big part in that.

"That's probably the best zone that we've seen all year long, and they are playing with a lot of confidence," Purnell said.

The Red Storm used a 9-0 run, which Hardy bookended with layups, to take a 15-7 lead.

They continued to hold a small advantage until late in the half, when they took control with a 12-0 stretch. Kennedy and Hardy capped the burst with three-pointers, putting St. John's up 33-14. The Red Storm carried a 37-22 lead into the break.

Hardy's three-point play a little more than two minutes in extended the St. John's lead to 44-24, and the Blue Demons' shooting struggles allowed the Red Storm to pull away further.

Dwayne Polee II dunked with just under 13 minutes remaining, ending an eight- point run and giving the Red Storm a 57-28 lead, and they cruised from there.

The St. John's basketball schedule features the Red Storm traveling to Philadelphia Saturday afternoon to play the Villanova Wildcats (2 p.m.). Next week, the Johnnies will conclude its regular season by playing at the Seton Hall Pirates, Thursday (7 p.m.), March 3, and hosting the South Florida Bulls, Saturday (8 p.m.), March 5.


St. John's Basketball Vs. DePaul: Improving Blue Demons Viskit Carnesseca Arena

Back in the national rankings for the first time in 11 years, the St. John's basketball program (No. 23 in the AP poll and No. 25 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll) plays host to the DePaul Blue Demons tonight in a Big East Conference showdown at Carnesseca Arena.

In his first year back on the bench after spending several seasons as a TV analyst, head coach Steve Lavin has re-ignited the excitement around St. John's once again.  Over the weekend, the Red Storm (17-9, 9-5 Big East) downed the No. 4/6 Pittsburgh Panthers at Madison Square Garden. The victory was St. John's fourth straight and its sixth in the last seven. Since the start of 2011, the Red Storm have thrilled many at MSG with wins over No. 11 Georgetown Hoyas, No. 9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish, No. 1 Duke Blue Devils and No. 14/15 Connecticut Huskies.

Senior guard Dwight Hardy, who finished Saturday's contest with a team-best 19 points and made the game-winning basket with 1.2 second remaining, enters Wednesday's contest as the Red Storm's leading scorer (17.2 points per game). Justin Brownlee is second-best averaging 12.3 ppg and adding about five rebounds per game. Teammate senior forward Justin Burrell had possibly he's best effort as a Johnnie Saturday (15 points and eight rebounds off the bench).

As for the Blue Demons, a team which until recently hadn't won a conference game in more than a year, landed right back in the loss column Saturday with a 77-75 overtime loss at the No. 15/14 Villanova Wildcats. DePaul (7-19, 1-13) sit all alone at the bottom of the Big East standings entering the week. Freshman Cleveland Melvin paces the team with 17.5 ppg and 6.5 rpg.

With respect to the all-time series between these two schools on the hardwood, the Blue Demons actually lead by a count of 14-12, with the relationship dating all the way back to 1932. The most recent meeting was a thriller last March that featured the visiting Red Storm winning in triple overtime, 90-82.

-- Information for this preview provided by Sports Network.

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