Poor Free-Throw Shooting Dooms the Demons against Marquette

DePaul Ends Super Frustrating Week 0-2 on Games that they Lead Throughout

Free-Throws and Free-Throw Rate Will Be the End to Me

DePaul played two road games this week against teams in the top half of the Big East.  The Blue Demons came in and gave it their all in both.

DePaul lead at half-time against Seton Hall and lead until the final 5:27 of the game.

DePaul lead or tied Marquette for 38 minutes and 44 seconds.

DePaul lost both.

DePaul held Marquette to a season low 22.6% from 3 point land.  The Golden Eagles had more turnovers than the Blue Demons.  DePaul held Seton Hall to 22% from 3 point land and caused 20 turnovers.

DePaul still lost both.

DePaul made 9 more shots from the field than Marquette and lost.

Marquette made ONE shot from the field in the final 6 minutes of the game, a game that they trailed or were tied throughout and  won.

DePaul, with the lead, made more field goals in the final 6 minutes of the game and still lost.

Only the 2nd time this season when the Blue Demons had over a point per possession and still lost.  The other was against Villanova.

I was way off on my preview. It did not occur to me that the Demons could limit the Golden Eagles to under 25% from 3. Somehow they did, and somehow they still lost.

How the Hell Did DePaul Lose This Game, and Both Games This Week?  Big Hint:  Free-Throw Rate of Opponent

Free-throw rate does two things.  One, it means your opponent is getting in major foul trouble. Against Marquette, all 5 starters had at least 4 fouls and Paul Reed fouled out.  Reed only played 27 minutes in the game.  Butz and Romeo Weems played 30 minutes and 29 minutes respectively.  Two, your opponent gets a golden opportunity to score two uncontested points per possession.

In 61 possessions that ended in a shot or a turnover, Marquette scored 0.77 points per possession.  In the 17.5 possessions that ended in a foul shot, the Golden Eagles made 1.66 points per possession.

Contrast that with DePaul and the Demons’ awful free-throw shooting.  The Blue Demons scored .88 points per possession that ended in a shot or turnover.  In the 11.5 possessions that ended in a foul shot, DePaul made 1.04 points per possession.

The Golden Eagles had their 2nd highest Free-throw rate the season and most high in conference play at a rate of 70%, meaning they shot 70% as many free-throws as shots from the field in the game.

This manifested itself with DePaul having to be less aggressive in the paint on defense due to foul trouble.  Marquette had a season high from inside the arc shooting 68.4% inside.  This correlated directly to Reed and Butz being in foul trouble and not being able to contest every shot.

This affected the Seton Hall game as well.  The Pirates Hall had their 4th highest Free-throw rate against DePaul with a rate of 50%.  The Pirates’ highest rate of the year was also against DePaul in the Big East opener when their FT Rate was 60%.

The difference between the two teams was that Marquette made 29 of 35 free-throws for 82.9%, while Seton Hall made 14 or 29 for 48.3%.

On the DePaul side, if the Blue Demons could have matched their 75% free-throw percentage from the Seton Hall game when playing Marquette, they would have won.   If the Demons shoot 75% they would have had 5 more points in the game.

It should surprise no one that DePaul is now the worst team in the conference when it comes to defensive free-throw rate.

The Good

DePaul’s Defense Against the 3

DePaul held Marquette to a season low 22.6% from 3 Point land.  The only problem was that the Demons shot 20% from 3 point land.  Still it was impressive to hold a team that shoots almost 40% to less than 23%.  It should be celebrated.

Yeah for DePaul holding the Golden Eagles to a season low 3pt%.

DePaul’s Offensive Turnovers

DePaul turned the ball over at their 2nd lowest rate of the season.  Only 14% of possessions ended in turnovers.  10 turnovers in a game of this magnitude is pretty damn awesome.

The Bad

Free-Throw Shooting

DePaul could have put the game away if they would have shot slightly above their season percentage.  Instead he Blue Demons put up 52.2% for the night on 12-23 shooting.

Jaylen Butz going 4-9 is right in line with expectations, but Paul Reed going 1-3, and hvingd a chance to tie the game if he makes two late, but missing was a microcosm of the season.

Reed missed the front end of an one-and-one at 7:49.  Potential of 2 points lost.  With 10 seconds left, Reed missed the front end of a 2 shot foul, that if he made it, DePaul could have tied with a second make.  Instead, it put the Demons in a position to where they had to foul one of the best free-throw shooting teams in the country.

After fouling Markus Howard with 8 seconds later, everyone knew that if Howard sunk both free-throws Marquette would be fouling the Demons to prevent a 3 point shot.  Charlie Moore received the inbound and made it to half court before being fouled.  It was imperative for Moore to hit both free-throws to extend the game.  He missed the first, which essentially ended the game.

The Coaching

DePaul kept finding ways to score up until the final 5 minutes.  That basketball genius Steve Wojciechowski decided to create a new defense that no one in history had ever seen, the 3-2 zone.  Dave Leitao and the wonderful Blue Demons coaching staff acted like they had never seen such a thing, and the offense stalled.  Granted DePaul scored more field goals in the last 6 minutes, but they also settled for mid-range and deep 2s. At the same time on the other end, Marquette was throwing themselves into DePaul players at the basket trying to draw fouls.  Which strategy worked better?

The Refs

No team in a losing position should be taking 22 foul shots in a single half.  Some fun fouls such as Koby McEwen stepping on Paul Reed’s foot and falling to the floor, resulted in 2 shots, when it should have been a no call.  On another play, Jalen Coleman-Lands had his hands up and back to the basket as a dude ran him over.  Of course, 2 shots for the Golden Eagles.  Other observations, there were about 3 calls in which a foul was called, and the person who was closest to the foul was Paul Reed.  Instead of putting Reed out of his misery, they gave the foul to someone else in the neighborhood.  Either it wasn’t a foul, or the foul was on Reed.  In these cases, it most likely was not a foul.  This stuff matters.  No one could play aggressive defense because of the rando fouls.

I will even point out that Jayce Johnson of Marquette, who had an awesome game, had multiple questionable fouls called on him.  The dude was showing excellent post skills around the basket.  He fouled out, when it should have just been plays.

Over officiating kills games.

Three Point Shooting

In the 1st half the Blue Demons were 2-5 (40%), while Marquette shot 5-21 (23.8%).  You can look at this as good, in that DePaul was efficient.  However, the Demons scored 6 points on threes, while Marquette scored 15.  DePaul evened it out in the 2nd half by not making a single 3 point shot finishing at 20%.

Marquette’s 2 Point Shooting

Due to the insane foul trouble on DePaul, the Golden Eagles shot 68% from inside the arc as DePaul stopped challenging shots. This kept Marquette in the game.  DePaul only shot 56% from the inside.

What’s Next

DePaul hosts Xavier on Tuesday night at 8PM.


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