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St. John's blows late lead in loss to DePaul

Christian Jones, Amir Garrett and Chris Obekpa of

Christian Jones, Amir Garrett and Chris Obekpa of the Red Storm look on from the bench in the second half against Marquette at Madison Square Garden. (March 9, 2013) Credit: Jim McIsaac

ROSEMONT, Ill. - Billy Garrett Jr. scored 21 points, and DePaul won its second straight, beating St. John's 77-75 on Tuesday night.

The Blue Demons (10-8, 2-3) blew a seven-point lead in the second half but pulled it out in the closing minutes to come away with back-to-back Big East wins for the first time in six years.

St. John's (9-7, 0-4) was leading by three when Garrett scored on a fastbreak layup with three minutes to go. The Red Storm's Rysheed Jordan lost his dribble, leading to a floater by Cleveland Melvin that put DePaul ahead 76-75 with 2:19 remaining.

D'Angelo Harrison missed a 3 at the shot clock buzzer for St. John's and Orlando Sanchez put up an airball on a 3-pointer with 47 seconds left. The Red Storm had another chance after Young had a layup blocked out of bounds and Melvin missed a jumper from the wing off the inbounds with 11 seconds remaining.

But Max Hooper missed a 3 for St. John's. Brandon Young then hit the second free throw after missing the first for DePaul to make it 77-75 with 1.9 seconds left, and Jordan's halfcourt heave hit the top of the backboard as time expired, preserving the win for the Blue Demons.

Garrett, a freshman, came through with another strong effort after scoring a career-high 22 a week earlier in a double-overtime win over Butler.

Young finished with 19 points. Melvin scored all but three of his 16 points in the second half. Tommy Hamilton scored 13, and DePaul came away with consecutive conference wins for the first time since it beat Villanova and Providence to start Big East play in January 2008.

The Blue Demons also stopped an eight-game losing streak to St. John's.

Harrison, a game-time decision after suffering a mild concussion in the previous game against Villanova, came through with 24 points.

Jordan scored 16, but the Red Storm dropped their fourth straight.

Melvin's dunk about five-and-a-half minutes into the second half broke a 55-55 tie. Young then stole the ball from Sir'Dominic Pointer, who threw him to the court. That resulted in a technical and two free throws by Garrett as the crowd chanted for Pointer's ejection.

Hamilton then buried a 3-pointer to make it 62-55 with 13:37 remaining. But St. John's chipped away at the lead, tying it at 70 on a jumper by Sanchez with 7:40 left.

Harrison then scored on a layup off a no-look pass from Sanchez and buried a pull-up jumper to make it a four-point game with 4:35 left, and it remained tight the rest of the way.

New York Sports