St. John’s Decides Not to Press the Demons; Poor Choice
We DePaul fans know our weaknesses (ball handling and shooting). Our opponents should know our weakness. Somehow, someway, St. John’s decided to not pressure the Demon ball handlers, the Demons made shots, and DePaul came away with the victory.
If you read my preview to the St. John’s game you would have read that the Red Storm have generated the 3rd most turnovers in Division 1. The Red Storm could do this by sporting 2 of the most dynamic players at generating steals: Shamorie Ponds and Justin Simon. Additionally, they have a shot blocking machine anchoring their defense, 6′ 11″ Tariq Owens. Either through poor scheming by Red Storm Coach, Chris Mullin, or by great gameplanning by Dave Leitao, turnovers were not a thing. DePaul only had 12 turnovers for the game, which is the lowest amount they have had in Big East play (17 against Georgetown, 23 against Xavier, and 17 against Villanova).
Marin Maric and Max Strus had double-doubles, and Tre’Darius McCallum had a strong all around games to lead the Demons to victory.
DePaul does not warrant a trip to Madison Square Garden, so instead the game was played at the sold out Carnesecca Arena. Where Lou Carnesecca himself was in attendance.
Obviously, DePaul beat the spread, which was 9.5, Kenpom expected a 9 point Red Storm victory. The over was 147. The game went way over at 165.
The Player of the Game: Marin Maric
Marin Maric was a huge difference maker in the game. He dominated the offensive side and was a major defensive presence. He ended the game 5-6 from 2 point range and 2-2 from 3 point range, 9-10 on free throws, 5 assists, 1 block, 11 rebounds, and only 1 turnover. He neutralized St. John’s 6′ 11″ center, Tariq Owens’s impact by making Owens leave the middle of the lane. Getting Owens out of the middle opened up alleys that allowed other Demons the ability to drive. Maric put up an Offensive Rating of 187, which is the highest a starter has put up for the Demons this year. What a game! Maric’s National Rank in Offensive Rating went from 114.4 (470th in the country) to 120.8 (212th in the country). What a jump. He now sports the highest offensive rating of the starters on the team, ahead of Max Strus who has a 114.1 rating through the season.
No One Was Absolute Garbage
DePaul’s top 6 guys had Offensive ratings of 94 and above (100 is the bench mark), which is highly unusual. So although 2 Demons had below the bench mark, they were barely below.
1.26 Points Per Possession
The Demons sported a 1.26 points per possession, which is their 2nd highest of the year (best rate was 1.31 per possession against Central Connecticut) , and by far their best against top 100 teams. Maric was amazing.
DePaul held the Johnnies to Zero Free Throws in the First Half
You want to demoralize a team? Do not let them get a foul shot in a half. St. John’s does not draw a ton of fouls in general (233rd out of 351), but it was glorious to see them get zero foul shots in the 1st half.
It was apparent that DePaul wanted to force the Red Storm to shoot from outside the lane, and that is exactly what occurred. St. John’s (like DePaul) is one of the worst 3 point shooting teams in the country and also pretty terrible at making 2 point shots. Although DePaul gave up WIDE OPEN 3 pointers, the Johnnies only made 34.6% of them (9-26).
Eli Cain Scores His 1,000th Point at DePaul
DePaul Wins the Vincentian Championship Belt from St. John’s
Fictional, but should be real. After every Demon/Red Storm game, they should exchange a Belt with a big picture of St. Vincent DePaul spinning a ball on his saintly finger.
When Austin Grandstaff scores and the Demons aren’t playing a top 10 team, DePaul wins. It is a simple as that.
I had to drive through the Rocky Mountains while the game was going on, so I had my 9 year old narrate the game for me, which was sweet. I might have a play by play guy in my family. I finally got to watch the actual play by play this evening, since FoxSports doesn’t do OnDemand style viewing. It is so weird that I would have to wait until 5pm today, to watch a ‘replay’ on FoxSportsGo. Anyway, that was why this link took a while to get up.
St. John’s Game Plan
You want to beat DePaul? You have to make them beat themselves. You have to pressure the Demon guards, so that you can get some easy points. St. John’s, with the exception of a couple of trips in the 2nd half, did not pressure the DePaul guards. No full court pressure, no half-court press. You take away the pressure that the Red Storm can generate, and you are left with nothing. I am scratching my head as to why Chris Mullin basically played straight up man to man defense against the Demons. Hey Chris, your team can’t shoot worth a damn nor rebound worth a crap. Why not try to generate turnovers? Also, Chris, Thanks for not pressuring us. We like winning games in the Big East.
Tweets of the Game
As Tim Ring Says, Thank the Good Lord for Maric and Strus
Big East is Only Conference with All Members in top 100 of Kenpom ratings
As always, a nice FireJLP joke:
A Cleveland Melvin Tweet:
My Celebration of the Victory:
And Finally, Cancel the Parade:
DePaul Freakin’ Won a Road Big East Game! After 9 tries, DePaul won a Freakin’ game against a top 100 team!