St. John’s 90, DePaul 82
D.J. Kennedy endured a horrific first half but, after a
second-half scoring spree, helped St. John’s escape DePaul with a
triple-overtime victory Friday night.
Kennedy helped the Red Storm overcome a 20-point first-half
deficit with a career-high 32 points and Malik Boothe scored six
points in the third overtime as St. John’s defeated DePaul
Anthony Mason Jr. made a 3-pointer to start the third overtime
and Boothe later hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key to give
the Red Storm an 83-80 lead. St. John’s (16-14, 6-12 Big East)
finally pulled away when Kennedy connected with a Mason for an
alley-oop dunk and an 87-82 lead with 37.2 seconds left.
Paris Horne finished with 20 points and Mason 14 for St. John’s
in its regular-season finale.
Kennedy, who scored only four points in the first half, heard an
intense halftime speech from coach Norm Roberts.
“We already knew we put ourselves in a hole,” Kennedy said.
“In the first half, we played our worst basketball we played all
year. We already knew we didn’t want to go out like that on the
last game of the season.”
Mac Koshwal scored 23 points and Mike Stovall 19 for DePaul
(8-22, 1-16), which has won only one Big East regular-season game
in two year. DePaul’s lone win came Jan. 20 against Marquette.
“Sometimes when we get a big lead we get lackadaisical,” said
DePaul’s Will Walker, who scored 10 points. “Coach (Tracy Webster)
keeps on stressing to keep on attacking and stretch that lead, but
it seems like we never do. It seems like we get in a shell and play
not to lose instead of to win.”
DePaul trailed 75-70 with 4:24 left in the second overtime but
came back. Will Walker made a 3-pointer, and Kennedy answered with
a basket, but Koshwal scored for DePaul. Then with 53.8 seconds
left, Jeremiah Kelly drove past the St. John’s defense for a layup
to tie the game. Kelly had a chance to win the game but missed a
3-pointer as time expired.
Mario Stula made a 3-pointer for the Blue Demons with 11 seconds
left in the first overtime to cut the Red Storm lead to 69-68.
DePaul then put Kennedy on the line, and he split two shots.
Kelly then dribbled the length of the court and converted a
layup just before time expired in the first overtime to send the
game to a second overtime.
Horne’s basket gave St. John’s its first lead of the game at
62-60 with 1:58 left in the first overtime. Kennedy made a
3-pointer and then added a free throw to extend St. John’s lead to
66-60 with 39.5 seconds left. Kennedy made two more free throws to
put the Red Storm up 68-63 with 26.8 seconds left.
The Red Storm trailed 52-40 with 8:43 left in regulation. But
Kennedy, who scored 15 points in the second half, made a 3-pointer,
and Horne followed with another to get the Red Storm within 56-54
with 2:43 left.
“We fought too hard all year to go out on a night like this in
the last game of the season going into the Big East (tournament),”
Kennedy said. “Come second half, I gave it all I had.”
Coming out of an inbounds play with 7.2 seconds left, Kennedy
drove to the basket and found Justin Burrell for a dunk to tie it
56-56 with 2 seconds left. Walker’s wild half-court shot was
blocked as time expired.
“By far the most exciting game I’ve ever been part of in my
life coaching, especially as a head coach,” Roberts said. “Never
been more proud of my team and how focused they came out (in the
second half). They really played with an unbelievable sense of
It has been a struggle for DePaul, which fired coach Jerry
Wainwright on Jan. 11 and replaced him on an interim basis with
“It was a fun game,” Webster said. “I wished we could’ve got
the ‘W.’ Hopefully we’re getting closer and closer. Will said it:
We tend to play not lose.”
The Red Storm went 9:13 without a field goal in the first half.
During that span DePaul outscored St. John’s 15-1. Koshwal
connected on a full-court pass to Walker, Stovall made a 3-pointer
and Walker had a put-back to give DePaul a 30-10 lead.
It was a brutal first half for St. John’s, which shot 28.6
percent from the floor, went 3-for-9 from the free throw line and
committed nine turnovers.
“I think as a team we just weren’t there mentally,” Kennedy
said. “We were out of it from the start.”
Earlier in the season, St. John’s beat DePaul 67-47 at
St. John’s played without second-leading scorer Dwight Hardy,
who sprained his left knee in Tuesday’s loss to Syracuse.