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.
Coming off of the massacre of the Butler Bulldogs, ending an eleven game losing streak to the boys from Indianapolis, DePaul tries to end a ten game losing streak to the Creighton Bluejays. This will be the third game in a row against teams that the Demons had a combined 40 game losing streak. At least now, DePaul have snuffed out one of them. This game could put the Blue Demons right back on track to relevance in the Conference standings and NCAA Net ratings.
The last time, and only time, that DePaul beat the Blue Jays in Big East play was when Forrest Robinson, with lighting bolts shooting out of his fingers, made 5 three pointers in the first 5 minutes of the game and made 6 three pointers on the night at Omaha on January 7th, 2015.
Lead by Paul Reed’s 23 points and 9 rebounds, the DePaul Blue Demons dominated 5th ranked Butler, ending an eleven game losing streak to the Bulldogs. The game felt like DePaul was in control throughout, with the exception of a few minutes at the end of the first half, when Reed picked up his 2nd foul with 6:05 to go. Butler went on a 12-2 run to close the gap to 4 points with 2:17 left. For the first time in a long time, Win Probability favored the Bulldogs.
The Demons responded with their own 6-0 run to get back ahead by 10. With 16 seconds left in the half, Butler’s Jordan Tucker hit a 3 pointer to get the game back to 7. Tucker thought he had silenced the DePaul side of the crowd. Well guess what? Romeo Weems decided to ignite the crowd again. Weems ended the half with an exclamation point, 3 pointer to put the Demons back up by 10. DePaul never looked back.
Blue Demons Look To Snap 11 game Losing Streak to Bulldogs
In January, 2014, DePaul and Butler met up in Hinkle Fieldhouse for the first time as Big East opponents. For the first 30 minutes of the game, the Bulldogs had the game in hand, building a 12 point lead with 10 to go. At that point, the Blue Demons mounted a furious attack lead by Cleveland Melvin, Brandon Young, and Freshman, Billy Garrett Jr. When regulation was over, the Demons found themselves tied with Butler. After 28 points combined were scored in Overtime, DePaul and the Bulldogs remained tied. Finally, after 2 Overtimes, the Blue Demons won an epic game 99-94. DePaul has not beaten Butler since. Sounds like a recurring them.
DePaul is coming off of a tough loss at Villanova. AP ranked #5, Butler is coming off their 1st home loss and first Big East loss against Seton Hall. Let’s hope the referees try to extricate themselves from deciding this game.
DePaul takes on Butler Saturday, January 18th at high Noon at Wintrust Arena in the South Loop of Chicago.
The game will be on The UToo on Comcast and on Radio 670AM.
DePaul can play with anyone. No one intimidates the Blue Demons. This team has been in every game. Tonight, the DePaul Blue Demons were screwed. Screwed terribly. Improbably, the Men in Blue took the 14th ranked, Villanova Wildcats, to overtime, losing after Villanova took 8 free throws in overtime. The most egregious were the first set of ‘fouls’ called. But alas, let’s dwell on that later, in the Bad, Bad section.
Down eleven with 2:10 to go in regulation, Charlie Moore hits a three, Paul Reed hustles to get a jump ball, Jaylen Butz catches a tough pass and hits a two. DePaul forces another turnover. Egregious foul called on Reed (when I thought the game was over.) Incredible steal by Reed and a monster dunk. Gillespie travels horribly, but since we are in Villanova, there was a foul called on Reed. He made one of two. Jalen Coleman-Lands hits a 3, his first of the game to cut it to two. DePaul traps the Wildcats who throw it away. The Demons call a timeout and let Charlie be Charlie who delivered. DePaul then stopped Villanova on their last gasp effort, which brought us to overtime.
DePaul started overtime with two awful possession, while Villanova was gifted with the following possessions, which added up to 4 free points. Compare this to the first of 2 consecutive fouls called on the first 2 possessions of the second half when DePaul hosted Seton Hall and Charlie Moore picked up two push off fouls. Which is worse? Maybe no calls across the board would be the answer, but instead 4 calls against the Demons.
Jalen Coleman-Lands then set up Romeo Weems for an alley-oop, which looked like Weems had been hit off the ball by Gillespie, missing the shot. Moore stole a ball and made a layup. ‘Nova made their first field goal of the session. JCL hit his 2nd 3-pointer of the night to make it a one point game. Villanova made a contested layup and after an exchange of turnovers, Charlie Moore was fouled.
Astonishingly, the Blue Demons were still in a One-and-One situation, and Moore missed the front end. Weems blocked a dunk and Saddiq Bey turned the ball over, which set up a JCL three point shot. JCL was short. Reed blocked a Justin Moore shot with eleven seconds left, and ‘Nova fouled Charlie Moore to make sure that DePaul would not get a 3 off.
Moore made the front end, and intentionally missed the 2nd, and the Demons failed to get the rebound. DePaul fouled with less than a second which brought the end game score.
Demons Look To Snap 18 game Losing Streak to Wildcats
On January 3rd, 2008, Jerry Wainwright, Draelon Burns and the DePaul Blue Demons upset Jay Wright and Scottie Reynolds’ 17th ranked Villanova Wildcats, 84-76 to win the opening game of Big East play at the Allstate Arena. DePaul, shockingly, went on to win 3 of their next 5 to be 4-2 in Conference play. But then reality set in, as it has every year since, and the Demons lost 9 of their next 10 conference games, and due to a tie-breaker, failed to qualify for the Big East tournament, yet again.
A lot of stuff has happened since then. I now have a 6th grader and 4th grader. Neither have been alive since that last Demon victory of the Wildcats. Will Tuesday night be any different? We will see. After losing to St. John’s , the Blue Demons are becoming desperate.
Villanova comes in ranked 14th in the latest AP poll, while DePaul is in a tailspin. Twelve years later, nothing has seemed to change except the Wildcats are ranked 3 spots higher than they were in January 2008.
Let’s Start With a Little History Between These Coaches…
March 2, 2005 was a big night of truth for the DePaul Blue Demons. Firmly on the bubble, DePaul traveled to Birmingham to take on the University of Alabama-Birmingham Blazers. The winner of the game would have the upper hand going into the Conference USA tournament and, mostly likely, move up and off the NCAA tournament bubble.
The coaches that night were Dave Leitao, in his final year of his first term at DePaul, and St. John’s Mike Anderson, who was in his 3rd year at UAB after several years as Nolan Richardson’s top assistant at Arkansas. Anderson brought with him Richardson’s famed “40 Minutes of Hell” defense and fast paced, three point shooting and layup lined offense.
This Blue Demon team was one of the last good teams that DePaul has had. Lead by Drake Deiner, Sammy Mejia, and Quemont Greer, the Demons came into the game 18-7 with a 10-4 record in conference. A victory would seal a first round bye in the conference tournament and get them closer to being in the NCAA Tournament. UAB came into the game 8-6 with a need to win their last two games to get the important bye.
The game went back and forth. The Demons were up 2 at the half, and took their largest lead of 8 in the second half. Then the pace and the pressure took its toll on DePaul. UAB tied the game late sending it to overtime. In overtime, UAB hit a 3 pointer with 24 seconds left. DePaul set up Diener for a 3 pointer, which he missed. DePaul rebounded and set up another 3 point shot. Ultimately hitting a 2 pointer shot with a second left losing by a single point. DePaul lost their regular season finale to Louisville and UAB won theirs to secure the 4th seed and 1st round bye in the C-USA tournament.
8 days later, after DePaul won their first round game against Tulane, the Demons once again faced UAB in the quarterfinals. The winner would go to the NCAA tournament and the loser would go to the NIT.
Another back and forth game with DePaul going up by 10 with a little under 10 minutes left in the game. The frenetic UAB defense chipped away at the lead, and with 1:28 UAB hit a 3 pointer to gain their first lead of the game. Mejia scored a game tying free-throw. DePaul got a defensive stop and got the ball to Drake Diener with the hope that he would get fouled and be the iceman that he was. Under intense pressure, UAB forced Diener into a walk. UAB then made a 3 pointer leaving .7 seconds on the clock and DePaul lost. Two brutal losses, in which DePaul had the lead with less than 2 minutes to go in both game.
UAB lost to an excellent, Final Four Louisville team in the next round but was selected to the NCAA tournament the next day. The Blazers won their 1st round game, before being knocked out by the Arizona team that almost knocked Illinois out of the tournament at Allstate Arena.
Meanwhile, DePaul was selected to the NIT, where they beat Mizzou but lost to Texas A&M. Dave Leitao left for Virginia, and a year later, Mike Anderson left for Mizzou.
To say that the result of the DePaul/Providence game was disappointing would be a severe understatement. The headline of the game is that the DePaul Blue Demons lost on a last second free-throw by a 38% shooter on a foul that is generally ignored.
That’s a pretty tough call with 1.1 seconds left in a tie game. Weems went to help which lead to an offensive rebound chance which Reed couldn’t get his hands on and falls to Watson. #DePaul#pcbb#dpubbpic.twitter.com/Qt6dLK5PcP
The Hoyas’ star, Mac McClung, had his eye severely poked during a game versus American on December 28th and missed the Providence game. I picture McClung’s eye looking like Bob Costas’s eye during Winter Olympic coverage. The only difference is that McClung, with or without bad eye, could probably reverse dunk over tiny Costas.
Providence has been a trick-or-treat team this year, losing to such basketball luminaries as Long Beach State (303), Charlestown (120), Penn (108), and Evanston’s favorite Big 14 team, Northwestern (109), while beating Texas and Georgetown in their last two games. Before beating the Longhorns and Hoyas, the Friars’ biggest wins were against Stony Brook, Pepperdine, and Sacred Heart. On paper, they are the worst team in the Big East. However, DePaul will not be playing paper on Saturday.