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.
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.
In a game that both teams needed, the St. Johns’s Red Storm prevailed in an ugly, forgettable victory.
Not all was bad at first. Charlie Moore hit a 3 pointer at the 16 minute mark. We like when Charlie finds his long-distance stroke. DePaul took at six point lead at 13-7 with 14:31 in the half. The players were playing loose and confident. Of course, it rapidly changed after that. A quick 3, a turnover leading to a layup, and it was a one point game. From that point on, the Demons were never up by more than 4 points. The teams exchanged the lead several times for the next few minutes until the Red Storm began to take control of the game taking a lead that they would never relinquish with 6:12 to go in the 1st half. DePaul went over 3 minutes without a point, during which the Jonnies went on a 10-0 run getting the lead to 6 points.
With 1:24 left in the half, Paul Reed finally got on the board to cut the St. John’s lead to 3. DePaul played strong defense to get the ball back with the chance to tie and 1:09 left in the half. Then badness occurred. Moore missed a layup, DePaul played excellent defense again, getting the ball with 32 left. After running the clock down to less then 10, Devin Gage missed a wild shot which lead to this awful sequence.
Not the way to finish the half. Gage with a wild shot while having both Reed and Cameron open for shots. Then Moore gets his ankles broken while doing the Matador defense. #DePaul#dpubbpic.twitter.com/nAsWhDV6xo
I don’t know where you were December 8th, 2018. I know that my poor son and I were in Evanston, Illinois to watch the Blue Demons visit Northwestern. You know, great bonding moments between father and son. Nice seats, easy drive from the Northwest ‘burbs, why wouldn’t I go?
DePaul came out beautifully, taking a 41-29 lead into half-time. Now, I have been to too many games where things have been flowing excellent, and then the Demons have gotten their teeth kicked in, so I always have my guard up, and never get too high.
Now that was a freaking game! The DePaul Blue Demons defeated the National Runner-Up Texas Tech Red Raiders in overtime, 65-60, winning a game that they have lost so many times in the past. This game was drama in three acts.