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DePaul 77, St. John's 75

The SportsXchange

ROSEMONT, Ill. -- Guard Billy Garrett Jr. scored 21 points and DePaul earned its first Big East winning streak in six seasons with a 77-75 victory over St. John's on Tuesday at Allstate Arena.

The modest two-game run is the Blue Demons' first since January 2005, when they beat Villanova and Providence for back-to-back wins.

The loss was the fourth straight for the Red Storm (9-7, 0-4) and first in the last nine meetings with the Blue Demons. Guard D'Angelo Harrison shook off a concussion suffered last week to lead St. John's with a game-high 24 points, guard Rysheed Jordan had 16 and forward Orlando Sanchez added 11.

Guard Brandon Young scored 19 points, forward Cleveland Melvin had 16 -- including 13 in the second half -- while center Tommy Hamilton IV added 16 for DePaul (10-8, 2-3).

The Blue Demons broke away from a 55-55 second-half tie as Melvin scored four points and Hamilton added a 3 pointer in a 9-2 run for a 64-57 lead with 12:18 left in regulation.

St. John's trailed 64-57 with 12:18 to play but caught and passed DePaul after Sanchez's 3-point play gave his team a 68-67 lead with 8:28 to play.

Young replied with a 3-pointer for a short-lived 70-68 DePaul edge.

But Melvin's drive and shot off his fingertips gave the Blue Demons a 76-75 lead with 2:19 showing. Sanchez missed a baseline 3-pointer with 47 seconds left and Melvin missed on a potential 3-pointer with 11 seconds showing.

St. John's guard Max Hooper failed on a 3-point try with four seconds to play. DePaul then padded the lead with 1.9 seconds left when Young hit the second of two free throws.

Jordan's half-court shot at the buzzer missed its target.

DePaul had eyed its second straight victory and first Big East winning streak since back-to-back wins over Villanova and Providence in January 2008.

Tuesday's first half featured 10 lead changes and eight ties as the teams played to a 38-38 halftime deadlock. Guard Max Hooper's 3-pointer with 34 seconds left gave the Red Storm a temporary 38-36 lead. The Blue Demons' Young replied with a driving one-handed shot to tie the game with 16 seconds showing.

Jordan had 10 first-half points for St. John's while Harrison had eight, including a pair of 3-pointers. A guard averaging 18.7 points, Harrison had suffered a mild concussion last Saturday against Villanova but was cleared to play earlier on Tuesday after passing a series of tests.

Young and Hamilton each had 10 first-half points for DePaul.

St. John's hosts Providence on Thursday while DePaul travels to No. 6 Villanova on Saturday.

NOTES: St. John's entered the game last in the Big East in scoring (62.3 points) and field-goal percentage (34.7 percent) per game but had a Top 10 scorer in G D'Angelo Harrison, averaging 15.7 points in league play. ... St. John's came to Allstate Arena with two wins away from home (in Brooklyn and at Columbia University) but none outside New York City. ... DePaul F Cleveland Melvin landed on the Big East honor roll this week after averaging 23 points and seven rounds over two games. He is fifth in Big East scoring with an 18.5-point average entering Tuesday. ... G Brandon Young had 10 first-half points to pass Dallas Comegys for eighth on DePaul's all-time list and had 1,617 career points entering the second half. ... The Blue Demons improved to 2-0 in overtime games this season with last Thursday's 99-94 double-overtime win at Butler.
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