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St. John’s dishes and swishes on DePaul

Jordan Dingle banks a three in St. John's 85-57 win over DePaul on Tuesday night, February 6th, at UBS Arena - Image Credit: St. John's Men's Basketball

ELMONT, NY — If there was ever a time for a much-needed win for the St. John’s Red Storm, one that can potentially flip the switch and momentum on their season hopes of moving up the BIG EAST conference ladder, it was on Tuesday night at UBS Arena, while going up against the DePaul Blue Demons, who are ranked last in the conference. 

As one alumni Johnnies fan put it during his walk from the parking lot to the arena, “we need this one tonight, and much more going forward. Next month ain’t too far away.” 

That fan, amongst most College Basketball spectators, if not all, knows how it goes once this time of the year comes around. Each and every game can, and will define your season. 

Pre-game shoot around for DePaul vs. St. John’s at UBS Arena on Tuesday night, February 6th – Image Credit: Latino Sports

So, what did Rick Pitino’s led Red Storm do once we were set to get underway with the tip-off on Tuesday evening? Posted and Toasted. Swished and Dished. And after 40 minutes, came out on top, winning 85-57, to seal their 14th victory on the season, and sixth in BIG EAST conference play — 14-9 overall, 6-6 in BIG EAST.

In the victory, St. John’s nearly shot the ‘lights out of the arena,’ banking 15 three-pointers as a team (15-40, 37.5%) — setting a new program record for the most threes made against a BIG EAST conference opponent. 

“I’ll take forty threes if they can shoot thirty seven percent — almost thirty eight — I’ll take that every night,” said Pitino following Tuesday’s win.

Likewise, the Red Storm dominated in the paint, out-rebounding the Blue Demons 45 to 28, with 10 coming from St. John’s graduate student forward Chris Ledlum, who also posted six points. Along with Ledlum, Dominican senior center Joel Soriano stacked up eight boards, and 11 points. 

The Johnnies’ guard duo between Daniss Jenkins, and Jordan Dingle, each scored a game-high of 14 points, and combined for eight makes from behind-the-arc — Dingle: (4-10), & Jenkins: (4-6). 

“He’s a great shooter, he’s improved his defense, he’s improved his passing, and we needed that,” Pitino stated about Dingle in the post-game press conference alongside him and Jenkins. “The gentleman to my left (Jenkins), he plays every single game — never takes a possession off. He’s tougher on the guys than I am. He’s really tough on the guys in a good way because he holds them accountable, and he’s having a great year, a phenomenal year.” 

St. John’s guard Daniss Jenkins recorded his 12th game of the season with 14 or more points in Tuesday’s win over DePaul – Image Credit: St. John’s Men’s Basketball

It goes without saying, Jenkins being the competitor that he is, while holding teammates accountable at the same time, shows what a true leader is made of, but with that being said, what he does on certain occasions — ones that many don’t see — goes above and beyond. Example A: the Dallas, Texas native, who transferred from Iona University to St. John’s, could have gone into depth about his individual scoring night, but instead, had more words of praise for his teammate. 

“No shot on the court is like a bad shot to him,” Jenkins said about Dingle’s skillset. “And he can make it, but coach just encourages him to get easier shots. That’s what I want him to do too… I tell him all the time, like we talk all the time. As long as Jordan keeps moving, it’s not even about him not scoring and not shooting the ball well. I think as long as we keep learning how to move and play with each other, I know the points will take care of itself and his shots will fall. So, I don’t really worry about that. But, I know it’s very important for him to get going, because he’s a great scorer.”

Jordan Dingle compiled four assists (one shy from tying his season high) and had zero turnovers. St. John’s combined for 20 assists on the night, which marked their fifth game of the year with 20 or more assists – Image Credit: St. John’s Men’s Basketball

“I don’t think that there’s been a more supportive group that I have ever been around in my life as far as my teammates and coaching staff,” Dingle stated. “I just need to continue to step up and do my job. Tonight was great, they found me all night. I’m thankful for them, and the effort that they put into it.” 

What’s Next for DePaul and St. John’s? 

Blue Demons (3-20 overall, 0-12 in BIG EAST) 

DePaul will host the defending NCAA Men’s Basketball champion UConn Huskies (21-2 overall, 11-1 in BIG EAST), currently ranked No. 1 in the country, on Wednesday evening, February 14th, at Wintrust Arena, located Chicago, Illinois — tip-off set for 9:00 PM ET, television broadcast on CBS Sports Network. 

Red Storm (14-9 overall, 6-6 in BIG EAST)  

St. John’s will visit the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, this Saturday night, February 10th, to take on the No. 7 ranked Marquette Golden Eagles (17-5 overall, 8-3 in BIG EAST) — tip-off scheduled for 6:00 PM ET, television broadcast on FOX Sports 1.

Robert Rizzo is a journalist and editor of Latino Sports – Email: RobertRiz994@gmail.com

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