Red Storm Look Towards Statement Game vs. DePaul

The St. John’s men’s basketball team is on a roll, defeating their last four Big East opponents, and looking to make it five against DePaul at Canesecca Arena tonight.

St. John’s head coach Steve Lavin wants his team to be proud of their four-game winning streak, but noted the importance of not letting their confidence turn into cockiness.

“I think because of all the smack-downs and beat-downs we had last year and with our struggles this year, this team understands that it’s a tightrope in this league,” Lavin said.

The Johnnies (13-7, 5-3) beat the Blue Demons (10-9, 1-5) 71-62, a nine-point margin that was as close as three in the closing minutes of the game.

“One thing that I think is fresh in our minds is the run they made to close it to three,” he said. “And we were fortunate to make some stops and some free throws, and to come away with a victory.”

Sir’Dominic Pointer has been crucial over the past two weeks, and has served in every role the team has needed him to. In the last four games, Pointer has shot 65 percent from the field, with 41 points, 24 rebounds, 11 assists and nine steals, while also acting as the team’s leader in transition on both sides of the ball.

“When Dom is in the game, good things happen for St. John’s. When Dom’s out of the game, we struggle,” Lavin said.
In college basketball it’s important for a player to be well rounded, and for Dom Pointer, versatility is everything.
“He’s kind of like Costco,” Lavin joked. “Whatever you need, aisle 6, 7, 8, under one roof. He can do everything.”

Despite DePaul’s poor 1-5 conference record, Lavin stressed that his team can’t get complacent.

“Going into that game, we talked about their speed and their quickness and their athleticism is comparable to anyone in our conference,” Lavin said. “They’re as athletic as any team we face this year.”

Chris Obekpa told the media that a win would not come easy.

“We went to their house and disgraced them—we won,” Obekpa said. “We cannot just sit back and say ‘It’s a home game, we beat them once, it’ll happen again.’”

DePaul’s athleticism was apparant during last Saturday’s game and Lavin knows his team is going to have to work hard if they want to come out on top.

“I think overall because of their athletic ability, and because they close the game so strongly against us, our team is aware that we’re going to have our hands full,” he said.