On a day that featured a first half in which Paul Reed went 0-9 and Jalen Coleman-Lands had zero points, the DePaul Blue Demons still found a way to defeat the Northwestern Wildcats. Charlie Moore and Jaylen Butz lead the Demons by scoring 28 of the 34 first half points to keep the team afloat. The Blue Demons shot 37%, while the Wildcats shot 55.6% to take a 4 point lead into the break with Freshman Boo Buie leading the way with 18 first half points. As was mentioned in the preview of this game, Boo Buie was the man to be worried about, the only reason that the Boys in Blue were still in it was that they had only 6 turnovers and had out-rebounded the ‘Cats by 5, mostly on the offensive end.
At the half, probability made it clear that DePaul could come back if they shot just a little better. It took just 1:12 for JCL to hit his first 3 pointer of the half, and 2:28 for Paul Reed to finally get on the board putting the Demons up by 1 in the process. DePaul held the lead until the 10:36 point of the 2nd half. The Wildcats took the lead to 6 points with 6:28 to go. When Paul Reed hit his only 3 point shot of the day, cutting the lead to 3, it ignited a 15-2 run which culminated in the sequence of the night by Jaylen Butz.
— Lazybluedemon (@lazybluedemon) December 23, 2019
Butz’s steal and layup brought the DePaul lead to 7 and the Demons never looked back winning 83-78.
Jaylen Butz had a career day. On a night when Mr. Paul Reed was cold from the floor for a half, Butz (and Moore) kept the Demons in the game.
I will forever remember this sequence by Butz, as he put an exclamation mark on the 15-2 run, by first finishing an Alley-Oop dunk from Charlie Moore, and then by stealing the ball and taking the ball coast to coast for a layup. His emotions were all I needed to see. Mine mirrored his.
— Lazybluedemon (@lazybluedemon) December 23, 2019
Butz won the Waldo Fisher-Frank McGrath Award with his 24 points and 8 rebounds. The last Blue Demon to win was Max Strus in 2017 when he went for 33 points in a two point loss.
Finished up non-conference play at 12-1.
Next up: @BIGEASTMBB
— DePaul Basketball (@DePaulHoops) December 23, 2019
Here is a little nugget from Jon Rothstein.
NO ONE in the Big East is more underrated than DePaul's Jaylen Butz.
Super soft hands around the rim.
Shooting 65.3% from the field.
Has had a BIG hand in Blue Demons' 12-1 start.
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) December 23, 2019
Moore stepped up big and is hopefully through his mini-slump. According to kenpom.com Charlie was the game MVP. He had a 149 Offensive rating, which is awesome and was the highest of anyone on the floor.
25 points, 10 assists, 3 steals and ZERO turnovers in 39 minutes of play.
Boo Buie (Much Respect)
The dynamic Freshman scorer caused fits with the Blue Demons in the 1st half. Romeo Weems started on him, but quickly picked up fouls. Later, Devin Gage picked him up for a while. The two of them ended up getting torched to the tune of 18 first half points. Buie is one of those dudes who will blow by you if you play him too tight, but if you give him space will shoot a 3 pointer in your face. In the 1st half, he had three 3-pointers and four 2-pointers. Thank goodness for DePaul fans, Boo slowed down in the 2nd. He went 1-4 from 3 and 2-2 from inside the arch, taking a total of 6 shots.
Who slowed down the great Boo Buie? Darious Hall. As has been discussed on this blog, or at least via twitter, Hall is not the most dynamic offensive player. He doesn’t have the classic shooter’s touch, as can be seen with his 50% free throw shooting rate coming into the game. Well, in the NU game, Hall also went 50% from the free throw line. The kicker was that the 2 that he made were at the key moment of the game. DePaul up 3 with 15 seconds left. Hall needed to make at least one to most likely clinch the game. Hall calmly stepped up and knocked down two.
Between slowing down Boo Buie and knocking down the game clinching free-throws, Darious Hall makes ‘The Good’ for the first time this season.
I attempted to make a video of defensive excellence by Hall, but let me tell you without highlighting equipment to circle Hall all of the time, the video would look like a cluster. Let’s just say, Hall harassed Boo to the point that Buie rarely dribbled the ball up in the 2nd half. When Buie did receive the ball, he barely took shots and did not score in the last 12:47 of the game.
AJ Turner Did Not Kill Us
The man who had his career game last year, did minor damage on Saturday night, finishing 2-8 with 5 total points.
Reed’s First Half
It certainly seemed that Northwestern’s plan was to have Reed shoot from the midrange and outside. If so, it worked well. Reed went 0-2 from three point land and 0-7 from inside the arch. Nothing was falling. Additionally, he had two turnovers and 2 fouls. The lone bright spot was that Reed did grab 7 first half rebounds.
Of course, Mr. Paul Reed totally redeemed himself in the 2nd half, putting up 11 points on 1-2 from 3 point land and 4-6 from 2 point land, while also picking up 5 additional rebounds. He also ignited the 15-2 run on his only 3 pointer of the night.
Classy Paul had this to say about his teammates:
I got the best teammates… they kept lifting me up tonight when shots wasnt falling couldnt ask for better teammates
— Paul Reed (@Bball_paul) December 22, 2019
The referees totally messed with the flow of the game. There were a ton of ticky-tak fouls called on both teams. Early, the calls went against Northwestern putting all of their big men in foul trouble. Then it was pick on Romeo time. Weems could not stay on the floor due to his normal aggressiveness. Generally, that aggressiveness is rewarded, but not with this game’s officiating crew.
This Concludes the Non-Conference Schedule
DePaul is 12-1! 12 and freaking one after the non-conference schedule.
4-0 on the Road with big time victories over Iowa, Minnesota, and Boston College.
3-0 against the Big Ten: Northwestern, Iowa and Minnesota
5-0 against Power Conference Teams: Iowa, Minnesota, Boston College, Texas Tech, and Northwestern.
You couldn’t ask for much more from this team.
The Non-Conference Strength of Schedule was all over the map, depending on which site you follow;
Kenpom.com made it look a little disappointing: 236th
RPI Rankings: 216th
MasseyRatings made it look tougher: 106th
The bottom line is that this schedule was much harder than last year’s cupcake schedule (342 in kenpom), which now gives the Blue Demons a chance to make a post-season tournament if they perform well during conference.
Big East Is Tough From Top to Bottom
Performing well in this year’s Big East would be 7-11, 8-10, 9-9 or 10-8. It should be a blood bath. According to KenPom.com, the Big East is the 3rd best conference, by a couple of tenths of a point. All 10 teams are in the top 85 teams in the nation.
Sagarin has the Big East as the 2nd Best conference with all 10 teams in the top 87.
Massey has all Big East teams in the top 56, with the exception of Providence.
DePaul’s Ratings Going into Conference Play
62nd Kenpom (projects to go 7-11 in Big East Play)
35th NCAA Net Rating
72nd Barttorvik.com (projects to go 7-11 in Big East Play)
28th Massyratings.com (projects to go 7-11 in Big East Play)
All I know is that Defense travels well, and we have a good defense.
So Bring it on!
Seton Hall is next.