St. John's beats DePaul 79-74 in OT

St. John's beats DePaul 79-74 in OT

NEW YORK (AP) St. John's is in third place in the Big East Conference. No comments about the teams the Red Storm beat during their current five-game winning streak. Don't bring up how early in the season it is, either. They are doing some impressive things considering they are one of the youngest teams in the country.

The latest win was a 79-74 overtime decision against DePaul on Wednesday night at Carnesecca Arena. It was the sixth Big East victory for the Red Storm (14-7, 6-3), matching last season's total.

``We have a lot of momentum and, so what teams are doubting us because most of the wins were against the bottom half?'' said D'Angelo Harrison, who had 17 points for the Red Storm. ``We're going to come in ready to fight at Georgetown so they better be ready, too.''

The streak started with a win over then-No. 20 Notre Dame. Then came wins over DePaul, Rutgers and Seton Hall before DePaul lost to the Red Storm for a second time.

St. John's plays Georgetown on Saturday and then faces Connecticut at Madison Square Garden followed by road games with No. 6 Syracuse and No. 12 Louisville, the teams ahead of the Red Storm in the standings.

``Third place is big for us after people picked us 12th in the preseason,'' freshman JaKarr Sampson said.

Sampson is ready for the next four games.

``I feel like we're ready. I'm ready,'' he said. ``This is why I came to St. John's, to play big-time games like Louisville and Syracuse. We want to compete with those teams.''

St. John's coach Steve Lavin was asked if the upcoming stretch of games would let everybody know how good his team is.

``After three years in this league as a coach I found you just can't look for any universal truths out of a stretch of four or five games,'' he said. ``Just keep coaching and stay on the path of improvement until we see how things finish. You have to wait for the body of work.''

The Red Storm looked to be in trouble late against the Blue Demons, especially since Harrison had fouled out with 3:45 to play in regulation.

St. John's managed to tie it late in regulation and then controlled the overtime behind Sampson, who scored six of his 13 points in the extra 5 minutes.

``You feel helpless,'' Harrison, the Big East's second-leading scorer at 19.8 points per game, said of sitting on the bench for the game's last 8:45. ``I have faith in my teammates and they have faith in me. It was a grind-it-out game and we grinded.''

Brandon Young had 21 points for the Blue Demons (10-10, 1-6), who have lost five straight and seven of eight overall. They have lost eight in a row to St. John's.

``We've won a lot of games in the last 6 minutes. And we lost this one in the last 6 minutes,'' DePaul coach Oliver Purnell said. ``We had two 6-minute periods of time where there was 6 minutes left in the game and the score was tied, and there was a 5-minute overtime and the score is tied. Clearly, we did one of the three things we needed to do to win a 6-minute game very well and that was shoot free throws (18 of 20). We didn't take care of the ball a couple times and we didn't rebound defensively a couple times when we really needed to.''

Sampson's rebound basket with 1:49 left in overtime gave the Red Storm the lead for good at 75-74. Young missed a foul line jumper and, as Sir'Dominic Pointer went in for a layup, Young fouled him hard and a flagrant 1 was called. Pointer made both free throws - the Red Storm went 4 for 10 from the line in overtime - and even though St. John's didn't score on the ensuing possession, Sampson went 2 for 4 from the line to seal the win.

``I thought it was (a flagrant foul) right away but I think it looked worse than it was,'' Pointer said. ``They made the call.''

Jamal Branch made two free throws for St. John's with 1:18 left in regulation to tie it at 69. DePaul was called for offensive goaltending on its next possession. Sampson missed a jumper for the Red Storm and Young missed a 3-point attempt with 15 seconds left.

After a scramble near midcourt fouling the inbounds, Sampson missed a shot from down low at the buzzer. A foul was called against DePaul but the officials went to the monitor and ruled the foul came after the buzzer.

Phil Greene had 13 points for St. John's and Pointer had 11 points and 12 rebounds.

Cleveland Melvin had 10 points and 13 rebounds for DePaul, which finished with a 52-39 advantage on the boards.

DePaul finished the first half with a 28-15 edge on the boards - 12-4 on the offensive end - although St. John's led 38-31, the largest lead for either team to that point.

St. John's freshman Chris Obekpa, who leads the nation in blocked shots at 4.6 per game, had five to give him 96 for the season.

``Obekpa is such a good shot blocker,'' Purnell said. ``When he was in the game, he really changed some things. There's no question about it, St. John's really defended the rim pretty well. And they did at the end of the game. As well as we rebounded, we didn't come up with the critical rebounds we needed in overtime.''

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Wizards blown out by Spurs, as streak of losses in San Antonio since 1999 continues

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Wizards blown out by Spurs, as streak of losses in San Antonio since 1999 continues

The Washington Wizards lost to the San Antonio Spurs 98-90 on Wednesday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Streak continues: Many will tell you that San Antonio, TX is a wonderful city rife with history, good restaurants and warm weather. Please excuse the Washington Wizards if they hate the place.

They lost to the Spurs in a blowout on Wednesday and remain winless in San Antonio going all the way back to 1999. It was their 18th straight loss when playing at the Spurs.

The Spurs win games with their defense and this one was no exception. The Wizards scored their fewest points since Jan. 22, nearly two months, and shot just 42.7 percent. The Spurs hold opponents to the lowest points per game in the NBA (99.0) and the Wizards fell into all of their traps.

Bradley Beal was the only one immune to it. He had 21 points on 9-for-13 shooting. The rest of the Wizards shot just 26-for-69 (37.7%).

Losing in San Antonio has come to be expected for the Wizards, but they picked a bad night to drop a game. The Cavaliers and Sixers both won. Philly winning means more because they passed the Wizards in the East and currently sit fourth while the Wizards are in the sixth spot. 

If the playoffs began with those seeds, the Wizards would see the Cavaliers in the first round. Even though the Cavs aren't what they were a year ago, that should be avoided if possible.


Hustle plays: The Spurs also beat the Wizards at the minor details of the game, something they have long been good at under head coach Gregg Popovich. They got the loose balls and offensive rebounds at key moments to either sustain or steal momentum away from Washington.

In the first half, 40-year-old Manu Ginobli dove on the ground to beat Ramon Sessions to a loose ball and it led to two points by Pau Gasol. In the third quarter, Patty Mills flipped around quickly to steal an outlet pass from Marcin Gortat that led to free throws. And in the third there was one play when the Spurs got three offensive rebounds and ultimately got to the free throw line again.

The Spurs out-rebounded the Wizards 43-34 overall and outdid them in offensive rebounds 12-8. They just wanted it more on this particular night.


Oubre stood out: The Spurs' defense got the best of most players on the Wizards, but Kelly Oubre, Jr. was an exception. The third-year pro has been struggling with his shot in recent weeks, so in this one he stuck to high percentage looks, at least early. He had 10 points in his first nine minutes on 5-for-7 shooting, many of those attempts right around the rim.

Oubre attacked the lane dribbling both to his left and his right. He finished with floaters, tough layups and on one fastbreak with a thunderous left-handed slam:

Oubre ended up with 21 points, six rebounds, two steals and two blocks. He shot 9-for-17 from the field and 3-for-6 from three.

Oubre has continued to make an impact defensively, even when his shot is not falling. But he has to get more creative some nights to affect games when he isn't hitting from long range. Wednesday was a good example of how he can use his athleticism to take matters into his own hands.

It is a tricky balance, however, because sometimes his aggression can lead to mistakes. That certainly happened at times even in this game, as he had two turnovers. But when Oubre can contain his explosiveness, he can make a big difference.


Under the weather: Already without Wall, the Wizards had to shorten their rotation by two players against the Spurs as both Jodie Meeks and Mike Scott were out due to flu-like symptoms. In Meeks and Scott, the Wizards were missing two key pieces on their bench.

Instead of giving Tim Frazier and Jason Smith a rare and extended opportunity, head coach Scott Brooks instead chose to tighted things up. He relied heavily on the starters until the game was out of hand.

Brooks also got experimental, playing Tomas Satoransky (zero points, 0-for-7 FG) and Sessions together in the second quarter with Oubre and Otto Porter (12 points, seven rebounds) as the forwards. In the fourth quarter, we saw a lineup with three point guards: Sessions, Frazier and Satoransky.

The fact the Wizards had three days off before this game helped allow Brooks to rely on his starters early. It was also an opportunity for Brooks to see what life will be like when Wall returns. There is a chance Satoransky could see more time off the ball. This gave him another glimpse of how he can use Satoransky in more creative ways once the minutes at point guard go down significantly.


Up next: The Wizards are off Thursday before returning home to host the Denver Nuggets on Friday with a 7 p.m. tipoff on NBC Sports Washington. That will be a special night at Capital One Arena as the Wizards retire Phil Chenier's No. 45 jersey. 

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Should Bradley Beal be an All-NBA selection?


Wizards Tipoff podcast: Should Bradley Beal be an All-NBA selection?

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, host Chase Hughes was joined by guest co-host Travis Thomas to break down Bradley Beal's All-NBA chances and John Wall's injury rehab.

They also discussed the crazy Eastern Conference playoff race, Trae Young's draft stock and essentials for a good snow day.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!