In what has been a recurring theme of Big East Conference play, the DePaul Blue Demons lost a game in which they held a 2nd half lead. In seven of DePaul’s eleven Big East games, the Blue Demons have either held a lead or been tied at the half. For the sixth time, DePaul lost the lead and lost the game.
Before we get into this game, a little background on the Hoyas. During this season, two scholarship players have transferred and another scholarship player has not dressed for several games in a row. To say the Hoyas are short-handed is an understatement. Going into this game, Georgetown had seven scholarship players on the active roster.
This loss was inexplicable, in that Georgetown started the game without their go-to playmaker, Mac McClung. That left six scholarship players dressing for the game. During the second half of the game, their best all around player, Omer Yurtseven, was injured with an ankle injury. That left five scholarship players. With 1:49 left, another starter, Jamorko Pickett, fouled out. That left four scholarship players in the game with the Hoyas up 4. This meant that the Georgetown had to end the game playing a walk-on.
The DePaul Blue Demons travel to Washington, DC to take on long time opponent, Georgetown. This is the 39th time that these clubs have played since 1950. The two squads have split in each of the past 3 seasons. In the last meeting, DePaul murdered the Hoyas 101-69 as Max Strus went for 30, Eli Cain had 24, and Paul Reed scored 19. The 32 point margin was DePaul’s largest conference victory since the current alignment of the Big East. The Blue Demons arrive in DC after a pathetic 16 damn point first half performance against Xavier on Tuesday.
Georgetown enters the game with a 3-7 record in conference games with two victories over St. John’s and and upset victory over Creighton. The Hoyas lost to Seton Hall on Wednesday.
Last February 9th, DePaul finally put an end to a nine game losing streak to the Xavier Musketeers as Paul Reed, Femi Olujobi, Eli Cain, and Max Strus all put up double digits. It was one of the most well rounded scoring games of the season. Let’s see if DePaul can start a streak of their own by beating Xavier for the 2nd time in a row.
The DePaul Blue Demons travel to Milwaukee to take on rival Marquette. The Golden Eagles currently sit in 5th place in the Big East with a 5-3 record. As we all know, DePaul is in the cellar with a 1-7 record in conference play. This game will be a contest of contrasts. Marquette has an excellent offense that lives by the 3 and dies by the 3, while the Blue Demons have a horrific offense that lives by the 2 and dies by the 3, because the team takes too few and shoots them poorly.
Marquette swept DePaul last year. The first game was relatively close, but the Golden Eagles smoked the Demons by 19 in the second. Markus Howard had 36 points on 4-9 from 3, 8-12 from 2 and 8-10 from the free-throw line. It was an all around terrible effort by DePaul.
DePaul takes on Marquette Saturday, at 1PM Central Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee. The game will be on FoxSports Regional which means UTOO Channel 230 on Comcast in Chicago and on Radio 670AM.
Tale of the Tape
Marquette has 7 great advantages, while DePaul has 5. Of course, Marquette is the 6th most lethal 3 point shooting team in the country shooting 39.4% as a team. That is just crazy.
Winner of the Tape: Marquette
Who Can Hurt the Demons?
Word on the street is that Markus Howard is questionable. Of course, we all know that he will play against DePaul. Howard is the 2nd highest usage guy in the country. 38.7% of all possessions end in his hands. 42.6% of all shots come from Howard, which is the highest percentage in the country. He is currently rated as #4 in the kenpom.com player of the year metric. He is pretty much a nightmare, so it would be interesting if he did not play. Who would pick up the shots?
Howard is also a clean point guard not turning the ball over at a high rate.
Anim is another deadly 3 point shooter shooting 43.7% behind the arc. Strangely, he only shoots 66% from the free-throw line.
You do not have to worry about John’s offense, but he blocks 10% of all shots in a typical game. The Golden Eagles funnel drivers to him and he finishes them off.
Other Dangerous Shooters
Brendan Bailey shoots 39% from 3, while Jamal Cain and Greg Elliott shoot 40% and 45% from 3. All 3 of these guys typically have wide open attempts, which contributes to their deadliness.
What is Going to Happen on Saturday?
If Howard is playing, I find it difficult to believe that DePaul could deal with the firepower. Marquette has had 2 off shooting nights the entire year. In all Big East games they have shot at least 32% with the exception of their worst 3 point shooting game of the year, a win over Villanova, when they shot 23.8% and still won. They shoot 44% of their shots from beyond the arc.
If Howard is not playing, I can see a scenario where Marquette is a little out of their flow, with players being in positions that they are not use to. That could lead to an advantage by the Blue Demons.
Blue Demons Could Not Take Advantage of Seton Hall’s Struggles from 3-Point Land and the Free-Throw Line
If there was ever a game that was ripe for the taking, it was this one. In a game with 47 fouls and 49 free-throws, DePaul blew a nine point lead to lose to the Seton Hall Pirates 64-57. Granted, it was a game between the two team with the highest free-throw rate in the conference. It was ugly. The only reason that DePaul was in the game was due to the awfulness of the Pirates from the free-throw line and 3 point land. Seton Hall shot 29 free-throws at a rate of 48.3%, and a horrific 22.2% from 3 point land on 27 shots. These flaws were the only thing going for the Demons.
So how did DePaul lose? As I mentioned in the preview to this game, if DePaul shot better than 16% from 3 point land and defended better from 3 Point range, the Demons might have a chance. They did just that, but, and this is a big but, the Demons had 20 turnovers, shot 26.7% from three-point land, and 35.7% from two-point land. Dreadful. Yet they were in the game until the final minute. Down by 5 at the 1:11 point, Darious Hall drew a charging foul on the Pirates’ Quincy McKnight. DePaul attacked the rim, Charlie Moore missed a jumper and Jaylen Butz got the rebound, drew the defense to his side, and passed to a cutting Romeo Weems who lined up for a dunk that would bring the Blue Demons to within 3, but as he had 4 other times in the game, Seton Hall’s Romaro Gill blocked the dunk at the rim to preserve the 5 point lead. It was the last great effort of the game. A couple of free-throws and a couple of missed shots lead to the final line of seven.
DePaul travels to New Jersey to take on undefeated in Conference play, Seton Hall. This matches the top and the bottom of the Big East through the first seven games of conference play. The Blue Demons and Pirates played a close game in Chicago to start the beginning of the conference season. With 2:36 seconds left in the game, Charlie Moore converted both free-throws to put the Demons up one. Unfortunately, these were the last points scored by DePaul on the day. On the ensuing possession, Seton Hall’s Myles Powell pumped faked Romeo Weems into the air behind the 3 point line and put his shoulder into Weems to ‘earn’ 3 free-throws. Powell sunk all 3 shots, putting the Pirates up by 2, a lead they would never relinquish.
This is going to be a short post. There will be no video highlights. There will be no “good job by you” section. DePaul blew it. With all the momentum in the word, with a hungry fan base being reawakened, with national media paying attention, DePaul has blown it by losing 6 of their first 7 Big East games. Could they rebound and win 7 or the final 11 games? It’s possible, but unlikely because they have lost the ability to hit from 3 point range, while also losing the ability to stop their opponent from hitting from distance.
Quick Recap of the Game
The path to success in this game was laid out in the pregame post, limit turnovers, rebound to a draw, shoot 30% from 3 and hold the Johnnies to under 35% from 3.
Limit Turnovers? DePaul did great! They had 3 less Turnovers than the Red Storm!
Rebound to a Draw? Yes! The Demons had one more than St. John’s!
I’m loving it, tell me more. So the Demons Only had to shoot 30% from 3 Point Land and have the Red Storm shoot under 35%? I like our chances.
From 3, St. John’s shot 40.6% and DePaul shot 16%, and there goes the Conference season.
DePaul Struggled in the first half but went to the half tied. LJ Figueroa of St. John’s killed the Demons going 5-9 from 3 point range almost single-handedly keeping the Red Storm in the game. After starting 2-6 from 3 point land, The Demons went 1 for their next 7 in the half to end 3-13 (23%) from 3. Charlie Moore had 5 assists and zero turnovers. No one player shot particularly well.
DePaul’s plan was to throw it inside and overpower the Red Storm. This sounded great on paper, but it seemed like any time the Demons received the ball, the ball was being slapped or bumped, and the close shots ended up not being easy buckets. From inside the arc, DePaul was 9-17 (53.%) in the half. The Johnnies were 3-9 (33.3%) from 2, and 32% from 3, making 7 key 3 pointers. This illustrates 3 point math. DePaul had 18 points from 2 on 53% shooting, St. John’s had 21 points from 3 on 32% shooting. It’s crazy! 3 is greater than 2!
The 2nd Half
Mustapha Heron started the half with a 3 pointer and began warming up. With 17:18 left, Paul Reed hit 1 of 2 free-throws to put DePaul up for the last time in the game. A 3 and a half minute drought by DePaul signaled their doom. The Johnnies hit 2 layups and 2 three pointers to go up 9.
It took until 6:51 for DePaul to get back within 3. After a couple of near steals and immediate turning the ball back over, the wheels fell off. A dunk, a jumper, and a back breaking 3 pointer brought the score to 63-55, and the game never really felt in doubt again. Ultimately, DePaul lost by 13. DePaul managed to go 7-23 (30.4%) from 2 and 1-12 (8.33%) from 3 in the 2nd half. Unbelievable.
The three game gauntlet against Villanova, Butler, and Creighton, teams that had beaten DePaul a combined 40 times, is over. However, two of the long streaks are still alive. A diminished Blue Demon squad, missing starter Jaylen Butz, and sixth man, Devin Gage, succumbed to Creighton’s 3 point shooting in the second half.
The Blue Demons took an early lead on Nick Ongenda’s dunk. It was the only lead of the night for DePaul. At the ten minute mark of the 1st half, the Bluejays had taken a comfortable 8 point lead on Denzel Mahoney’s 3 point shot. The Demons stayed within striking distance keeping the deficit under 10 for the remainder of the half, and closed the half being down only 3.
This writer was ecstatic to only be down 4, because the Demons did not look right.
In my preview, I thought that Romeo Weems would draw Creighton sharpshooter, Mitch Ballock, but he ended up on point guard Marcus Zegarowski. In general, Weems disrupted him and kept him to having an average night with 9 points, 10 assists, and 3 turnovers.
Ballock did turn into an issue as the night went on going 5 for 11 from 3 point land, ending up with 19 points. It was the supporting cast of Creighton that did the damage. Five Bluejays scored in double figures. As a team, the Bluejays shot 40% from deep going 10-25.
If you watch the makes below, Ballock really had only 2 open shots. The guy is a shot maker.
DePaul made three 3 pointers in the game, all by Jalen Coleman-Lands, who went 3-7 on the game, but that was it. The rest of the team went 0-9. As a team, the Demons shot 3-16 or 18.75%, which was a season low. Simple math explained the whole game in one tweet.
When I write my blog on this game all I need to say is #DePaul brought a knife to a gun fight, right? If you look at all stats to explain the game, it really came down to one team making 10 3-pointers and the other team making 3. 30-9 equals 21. #Creighton won by 15. #dpubb
If your opponent averaged 1.2 points per possession on possessions that ended in a 3-point shot, and your team averaged .56 points per possession in which you shot a 3-pointer and your opponent took 9 more 3 point shots? You are going to lose. The end.
It didn’t help that when Creighton wasn’t shooting 3’s they made 53.5% of their 2 point shots (1.07PPP), while DePaul made 51% (1.07PPP).
Always remember boys and girls, 3 is greater than 2, and when you have an elite group of shooters who take a ton of 3s, you are going to come out ahead a lot of the time.