St. John’s snaps school record, 16 game losing streak
St. John’s was finally able to snap a historic losing streak of 16 games, as they defeated DePaul last night, 80-65. Being Felix Balamou, Durand Johnson, and Ron Mvouika’s last game in Carnesecca seemed to motivate the Johnnies to victory. The sold out crowd also helped, as fans rooted til the buzzer sounded.
St. John’s loyal fans stuck it out through a disappointing season and ended on a high note at Carnesecca Arena. It was a great night in general, as St. John’s legend, Bill Wellington was honored and Lou Carnesecca was in attendance. It was the perfect end to a painful season, but this is a team with tremendous upside, so the future is bright.
This was easily the Johnnies best game of the season as they finally were able to take down a Big East team for the first time this year. They were led by Durand Johnson who had 18 points and Federico Mussini added 17 points; all in the second half. Yassoum Yakwe also recorded his first career double double with 11 points and 11 rebounds, and tallied four blocks.
After the win, head coach Chris Mullin expressed how great of a win this was for his squad and said, “I’m happy for the guys in the locker room. They worked really hard. They’re approach and attitude each and every day has been really impressive.”
St. John’s led by seven at the break, however that lead would soon evaporate in the second half, as DePaul went on a 8-0 run to go up 32-21. St. John’s would answer right back as Balamou hit a layup and Mussini was fouled on a three point attempt. He would knock down all three free throws. Christian Jones would add another layup to top the 9-2 run off and put the Johnnies up six, 40-34. With 12 minutes left in the half, Yankbuma Sima threw down a ferocious dunk to put the Johnnies up 10 and they would not look back. They kept a comfortable lead throughout the rest of the game.
The Johnnies shot 56.5% in the second half and went up by as much as 20, which was their largest lead of the season. Mussini and Johnson scored 29 of the team’s 49 second half points to give St. John’s its first victory in a few months.
Johnson said after the game, “It’s the first step. We finally got a win under our belt. It feels good to be on the winning side for a change. We have to keep coming everyday and keep building off of it.”
The Johnnies were efficient offensively, especially in the second half. Great defense as well helped the Johnnies get the victory. If it were not for DePaul guard, Eli Cain the score would have been a blowout, as he hit some tough shots down the stretch. Cain had a game-high 25 points. The Johnnies also dominated the boards, 49-33. Sima had nine boards, six points, and three blocks off the bench. Balamou, in his farewell game, had nine points and a game-high five assists, to go with three steals.
The Johnnies return to action on Sunday, hosting Seton Hall at the world’s most famous arena. Game time is set for noon. The Johnnies look to finish the season off strong and defeating a good Seton Hall team would be a great start.
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