The Northwestern Game (DePaul’s Soul Crushing Loss)

We let one get away

DePaul let another one get away.  I would put the Notre Dame, Illinois, Oregon and Northwestern games in this category.  Of the ones the Demons really let get away, Oregon and Northwestern.

DePaul played again without Marin Maric, who continues to have issues with his knee.  In the UIC game, he had a falling player roll into the side of his left knee.  It would be amazing to get him back for the ‘Nova game.

The Setup

depaul NW attendance

The Good

Max Strus was an Animal

33 Points on 11-19 shooting.  6-12 from 3 pt. land, and only Demon to shoot above 50% from the FT line.

Strus really looks like the real deal.  He can create his own shot whenever he wants.  He can make contested shots.  He can make difficult shots.  He can be unselfish.  I really, really wish he were a Sophomore instead of a Junior, because he is electric to watch.

Defense was solid

DePaul limited the Wildcats to .93 points per possession.  40% from 2 pt. land, but unfortunately, 39.3% from 3pt land.  DePaul also kept NU to only 5 free throw attempts, which is amazing.  Forced 18 turnovers.

Defensive Milestone (no seriously!)

With today’s performance, DePaul’s Defense hit a 10 year milestone.  For first time since 2007, our Ken Pomeroy Adjusted Defensive Percentage went below 100.

This is amazing, and to me, it shows that the team is on the right track.  The last time DePaul had a rating below 100, the Demons had their last winning season.  Coincidence?  I think not.

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DePaul Covered!

6 point home dog.  Winner, Winner, (soul crushing) Chicken Dinner!

The Bad

Free Throws

The Blue Demons lost by 2.  The Demons missed 15 free throws.  Coming into this game, DePaul was ranked 30th in the Nation in free throw percentage at a rate of 76.5%.  This dismal, pathetic, out of character performance from the line dropped the Demons to 138th in the Nation at 72%.  A totally epic failure.  If DePaul shoots 50% for the game, they win.  9-24 won’t do it.  It was worse than that.  Until Straus hit clutch 3 FTs (after being fouled behind the 3pt line), the Demons were shooting 28.6% for the game.

Insane Comment by Leitao postgame (granted he implies all of the other stuff that DePaul did not do, like score another 3 points, via missed dunk, dropped passes, shadow charges):

Other Key Negative Plays/ Observations

McCallum who has been fantastic thus far, missed a key tomahawk dunk that would’ve put DePaul up by 8 with 6:44 in the 1st half.

Over aggressive offensive Goal tend by Butz.

Charge (non-charge and 1) by Cain.  This one was especially painful, since it did not look like a charge, and it could’ve been an ‘And 1’.

The 2 charge calls against Cain, seem to knock his confidence down again, making him less aggressive.  An aggressive Cain, is amazing Cain.  I love Cain.  Bummer of a game for him.

These refs really liked calling charges.  Insane amount, against both teams.

The refs called a million fouls on Northwestern, which killed the flow of the game.  (very similar to the DePaul-Illinois game), and it looks like DePaul missed 15 free throws, yep, that is what the score sheet says.

First half DePaul shot 3-10 from FT line.

The Droughts

Midway through the 2nd half, the Demons went 5:40 without scoring a single, damn point, and 6:11 without making a single, damn basket.  This corresponded to McCallum rolling his ankle and being off the court for several minutes.  During this time there were a few ill advised shots (I can think of two drives to the lane by Cyrus that were both blocked.)

DePaul seemed to settle for outside shots (most likely because anytime the go to the lane, a charge is called.)

The Last Play

Leitao commented on this post-game.  He didn’t throw anyone under the bus, but he did make it clear that Strus was the 1st option.  I was glad to hear that.  Cain did have a good shot, but unfortunately it ended in a miss.  It wasn’t his day.

Favorite Tweet of the Day

In relation to Leitao’s missing 15 Free Throws didn’t decide the game, may I remind you, a 2 point loss, Thomas Croke wins the day:

In Conclusion

This was a soul crushing loss.

Games like today are why it is hard to be a DePaul fan.

Did I mention that DePaul missed 15 free throws in a game that they lost by 2?

Soul crushing.

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