St. John's guard D'Angelo Harrison (11) drives to the basket...

St. John's guard D'Angelo Harrison (11) drives to the basket as DePaul guard Edwind McGhee (2) guards during the first half. (Feb. 1, 2012) Credit: AP

ROSEMONT, Ill. — D’Angelo Harrison scored a career- and game-high 29 points, including seven 3-pointers, as St. John’s defeated DePaul 87-81 on Wednesday night.

Two lengthy runs bailed out the Red Storm (10-12, 4-6 Big East), who battled from behind most of the game. Four St. John’s players reached double digits, including God’sgift Achiuwa’s 15 points.

Cleveland Melvin scored 22 points and Moses Morgan 19 for DePaul (11-10, 2-7), which was denied its first back-to-back Big East wins since the 2007-08 season.

The Red Storm trailed by double digits in the first half, but an 11-0 run in the final 4:37 cut the deficit to one at intermission. During that stretch, DePaul went scoreless and committed four turnovers.

The Blue Demons wasted another lead, this time eight points, midway through the second as a 13-0 run put St. John’s ahead for good.

In a track meet throughout, St. John’s showed its youth early - five freshmen started - shooting only 28.6 percent through the first 6 minutes as the offense often shot quick jumpers. The Red Storm eventually settled down and shot 50 percent for the game.

While the Blue Demons failed to close out the first 20 minutes strong, they didn’t suffer any hangover after halftime. Melvin scored six straight points to push DePaul’s lead to seven.

But, despite its youth, St. John’s wouldn’t back down. Harrison connected on four 3-pointers in the first 5 minutes of the second half.

Harrison, who recovered from a 2-for-10 effort in the first half, forced DePaul to key on him defensively along the perimeter, and the Red Storm took advantage inside. They outrebounded DePaul 37-29, leading to 21 second-chance points.

St. John’s Steve Lavin, who is recovering from surgery Oct. 6 for prostate cancer, did not coach against DePaul as part of a modified schedule to his coaching duties. Assistant Mike Dunlap coached in his absence.

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