By Dan Gardella
Queens – Looking to bounce back from two straight close, disappointing losses, the St. John’s Red Storm were outrebounded 46-30 and fell to the DePaul Blue Demons 91-74 in front of 5,602 fans Saturday afternoon at Carnesecca Arena. In a battle between two teams searching for their first Big East win of the season, it was DePaul’s Max Strus and Marin Maric who carried the load, combining for 47 points and 21 rebounds in the victory.
It was a back and forth game throughout the first half, featuring ten lead changes and two ties in the opening frame. DePaul took a four-point lead into the locker room at halftime.
The second half was a different story. DePaul began to heat up and ride Maric and Strus while the Red Storm managed to only shoot 35% in the second half.
One word that was the story in St. John’s head coach Chris Mullin’s opinion: Physicality.
“I’ll watch film later, but I don’t have to watch too much to see 15 offensive rebounds. Just a total quickness to the ball, diving on loose balls, things like that tends to magnify things. We were fortunate enough to be four points down at halftime” said Mullin in his postgame interview.
For St. John’s, it’s their second 0-4 start to conference play in the last three seasons. Marvin Clark II, who had 11 points and four rebounds believes something is different within the team.
“We’re not playing for each other right now” said Clark.
After claiming their first conference victory of the season, DePaul heads back home to Chicago to welcome Providence to Wintrust Arena next Friday. The Friars are fresh off an upset of #5 Xavier Saturday afternoon.
For St. John’s it’s a quick turnaround as they have a couple days off and welcome rival Georgetown to Madison Square Garden for the first ever Patrick Ewing-Chris Mullin coaching battle Tuesday, January 9th .