For the First Time this Season, DePaul Delivers on Final Possession
We’ve been here before… The clock is winding down, the ball is in the hands of Eli Cain, Cain drives, and…he misses (against Oregon)….and… he misses (against Northwestern)….and… he misses (against Xavier).
But hey, yesterday was a new day! The clock was winding down, the ball was in the hands of Eli Cain. Cain drove, stepped back, and drilled the game winner.
Next, the Demons did a show press, and held their breathes as Georgetown missed the last shot.
This was a game of runs.
Look at this ridiculous Win Probability chart below.
DePaul went on a 15-3 run near the end of the 1st half to build a 12 point lead. Of course, the Demons being the Demons, Georgetown immediately went on a 10-2 run to cut the lead to 4 at the half.
DePaul goes on a 15-2 run in the early 2nd half. Then Georgetown goes on a 16-0 streak culminating on a 3-pointer by Marcus Derrickson to go ahead by 2. Then it is back and forth, back and forth. In the last 10 minutes of the game, the most either team was ahead was 2 points. I was literally on my feet the entire last 10 minutes, annoying my wife and dog.
Eli Cain had his absolute best game of the year. He was amazing from beginning to the end, hitting from the outside, mid range, and driving to the basket. Where was this all year? This was the Eli Cain that DePaul fans had come to expect over his first 2 years.
In a game in which he was absolutely needed, Freshman, Paul Reed, had his best game earning extended minutes. His length, activity, and hops contributed to him going 5-5 from the field with 9 rebounds and 3 steals. He arrived in this game.
Lots of blue seats in Washington, DC. The Blue Demons must have felt at home.
DePaul and the over!
The Player of the Game: Eli Cain
Absolute, dynamic performance by Eli Cain. If we had this version of Cain throughout the early part of the season, DePaul may have 3 to 4 more wins, and the fan base may not have dusted off their pitchforks and pulled their torches out of storage.
To put in perspective, how unexpected this performance is, and how bad Cain has been, the following, are Eli Cain’s Offensive Ratings in Big East Play in order.
Eli, I would close my eyes if I were you (100 is average):
80, 47*, 90, 94, 71, 58, 96, and then ending today’s game with a 137 Offensive Rating!
*Took last shot in Xavier Game, when logging his worst game….WHY????
But alas, at Georgetown, last night, Cain was quality from beginning to end scoring 13 in the first half on 4-8 shooting, including 3-5 from 3-point land. He had his swagger. He was talking. He looked confident.
2nd half was even better from the field, going 6-7 including 2-3 from 3-point land.
He ended with a 137 Offensive Rating (100 being average), and truly lead the team through the fire.
Always remember, if Cain is making shots, DePaul is a different team.
Paul Reed Was Phenomenal
As I mentioned in my preview to this game, Paul Reed would need to step up if Maric and Butz couldn’t go. With Jaylen Butz out for the 3rd straight game, Paul Reed made the most of his 24 impactful minutes. Reed went 5-5 from the field and 1-2 from the line with 9 rebounds and 3 steals. He had the highest Offensive Rating of the night with a 151.
Reed came in for Tre’Darius McCallum after McCallum received 2 quick fouls in the opening minutes of the 1st half. Reed put up 8 of his points and 6 of his boards in this critical part of the game.
Reed is 6’9″ with long, long arms. He is really, really long. He also has an unorthodox shooting motion which reminds me a little of former Celtic Robert Parrish. He shoots it from a real high level, making it nearly unblockable.
On the defensive end, his length gets his hands into passing lanes, or to reach around to deflect with his fingers without his body touching the opponent.
I am looking forward to seeing Paul granted more minutes.
Marin Maric Returned
Maric did not have a particularly effective game, but his size and experience was needed against Jessie Govan, who had one of his worst nights of the season. Maric being available also allowed for more depth on the front-line against the Big East’s biggest front court. He also had a nice dunk on a sweet assist from Cain.
Butz Was Unavailable
Jaylen Butz is still recovering from a sickness that has now kept him out of 3 games in a row. Get well Jaylen!
God-Awful Defensive Stretches
1) End of the 1st half
With 4:11 left in the 1st half, the Demons held a 35-23 lead, a full 12 points! Then they allowed Pickett to hit 2 3-point shots, along with a layup and a free throw.
At halftime, instead of the comfty 12 point lead, it was down to a nail-biting 4.
2) 13:53 minutes left in 2nd Half (probably the worst stretch of the year)
DePaul goes up 14 with 13:53 left in the game with a score of 56-42. Patrick Ewing makes a good move and goes to his small lineup, where he moves his Power Forward to Center and his Small Forward to Power Forward.
To most teams, a 14 point lead is a comfortable lead and time to step on the throat and light the victory cigar. But these are your DePaul Blue Demons, and the Demons are not like most teams.
Instead, they prefer to start kicking the ball around whenever they are ahead. The 14 point lead quickly descended into 2 point deficient in 3 minutes and 7 seconds, allowing the Hoyas to go on a 16-0 run.
How do you accomplish this feat?
- 4 turnovers over the scoreless stretch
- Allow your opponent’s Power Forward/Center (Derrickson) to go 3-3 from the field, including 3 for 3 from 3 point land
- Allow your opponent’s Small Forward/Power Forward (Jamorko Pickett) to go 1-1 from the field including 1-1 from 3 point land.
- In other words, Allow your horrible, 3 point shooting opponent to go 4-4 from 3 point land over a 4 minute stretch.
- Georgetown shot perfect from the field (6-6) and missed their one free throw attempt in this stretch.
Do better Demons!
Justin Roberts Possessions
Unfortunately, in both poor stretches of the game, Justin Roberts was prominently involved. He had a bad game, with 2 points, 2 assists, and 3 turnovers in 9 minutes of actions. During the 2nd half bad run he tried an impossible alley opp pass to McCallum that was 3 feet over the basket. It did not go well, and in that stretch, the pass was a very poor decision.
No Vincentian Sweep for Georgetown
DePaul’s defeat of Georgetown prevented the dreaded Vincentian Sweep by the Hoyas. The Blue Demons kept the honor of all followers of the St. Vincent DePaul way. We are waiting to hear thanks from our Vincentian brothers at St. Johns.
In a game pairing the 2 worst offenses in the Big East, it was an exciting score fest. When one team wasn’t scoring the other was making buckets. It was the 8th most exciting game last night (#1 in my heart.) Both teams scored a little over a point a possession.
Tweets of the Game
There were a lot of happy/unhappy/happy DePaul fans, so there are plenty of tweets to choose from.
Bubba and I are cut from the same cloth:
After DePaul blew one of its multiple big leads:
Paul Reed Fan Club is Growing:
After Strus picked up his 4 foul, and was about to return to the game:
Next time near Win(Lose)Trust, I will take Jack! Jack?Jack. up on his offer:
Kevin stop watching DePaul games, for the sake of Blue Demon Nation:
And as always, we have to close with some snark:
Huge Win! It was great for the Blue Demons to finally win one at the end after so, so many painful disappointments.
Today, I leave you with a different image. The Boys are trying to help us all out. Keep it up Blue Demons!