Greene and Co. Look to Avoid Letdown at DePaul
St. John’s heads to Rosemont, Ill. on Wednesday to face fellow Vincentian institution DePaul in a Big East matchup at Allstate Arena.
The Red Storm (9-12, 3-6) are coming off a 83-76 loss against No. 6 Duke University, in a game that saw a large Blue Devils lead dwindle in the second half. The 11-9 (1-6) Blue Demons, however, are fresh off their first conference win of the season, which came on the road against Rutgers.
When facing a struggling team such as DePaul, the Johnnies are weary of falling into the typical “trap game” scenario which presents itself as the game is sandwiched between big time games against Duke and Syracuse.
“We have to try and manufacture the same energy we have had over the last three games,” assistant coach Mike Dunlap said. “Any game that is scheduled after Duke … that’s a tough one. A lot of circumstances make Wednesday a game where you have to try and marshal their energy.”
The perennially bottom-dwelling Blue Demons have continued to struggle under second-year head coach Oliver Purnell, but have already equaled their total number of Big East wins from a year ago.
Phil Greene will be making his return to his hometown of Chicago, where 60 friends and family members will cheer him on as he battles friends on the court as well. Jamee Crockett, who scored a career high 20 points in DePaul’s win over Rutgers, and Jeremiah Kelly are both from Chicago and are friends with Greene, he said.
“We have to be aggressive against DePaul, we can’t have a let down,” said Greene. “We have to go in and play well so that we’re on high spirits come Syracuse.”
Freshman Sir’Dom Pointer, who’s already played in his native Detroit, will have some fans in Chicago as well and thinks Greene will benefit from the welcome experience.
“I know Phil, he’s ready to play. It’s special to everyone going back home,” said Pointer, “I think he’s going to have a good game up there.”
Following the road trip, the Johnnies will take on No. 2 Syracuse on Feb 4. The Orange stand atop the Big East Conference with just one conference loss.