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St. John's holds off DePaul, 72-64

NEW YORK (AP) - D'Angelo Harrison scored 25 and had 10 rebounds to lead St. John's to a 72-64 win over DePaul on Sunday.

Chris Obekpa pulled down 11 rebounds and blocked five shots for the Red Storm (19-11, 9-8), who were without guard Rysheed Jordan, who sat out the game to mourn a death in the family.

Both sides got off to a sluggish start, combining to miss their first eight shots. But after a DePaul basket to break the ice, the Red Storm went on a 16-2 run over the next 4:22, which concluded with a thunderous slam dunk by God'sgift Achiuwa.

An 8-0 run to open the second half extended the Red Storm's advantage to 40-21. But DePaul responded with an 18-4 run to cut the margin to six, and they went on to get as close as three. St. John's, though, was able to recover and hold on for the victory. A slam dunk by Phil Greene IV with 1:59 remaining put the Red Storm up by seven, and effectively dashed DePaul's hopes.

Brandon Young had 23 points for the Blue Demons (11-19, 3-14). Billy Garrett Jr. added 12.

In addition to the strong performance from Harrison, St. John's got a lift from their big men, who dominated defensively on the interior. They outrebounded the Blue Demons 44-27, and blocked 14 DePaul shots, one shy of a school record. Obekpa's five were particularly crucial, perhaps none more so than the one he had with 2:36 to go, and his team up five.

The Blue Demons were able to keep the game from getting out of hand after the Red Storm's opening run, trailing by only 11 at the half. St. John's appeared to be well on their way after that run to open the second. Jamal Branch intercepted a DePaul pass about 30 feet from the basket, then took it back the other way, and found Harrison for an easy layup on a gorgeous behind-the-back pass, catalyzing the 8-0 run for the Red Storm.

They got the lead to 20, before the Blue Demons came roaring back to within three. Ultimately, though, the comeback attempt came up just short, and St. John's held on for the senior day victory.

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