Things looked dire in the early going as Marin Maric picked up 2 early fouls and Max Strus picked up 3 fouls with 8:43 to go in the 1st Half. Strus picked up 2 fouls on one play when he clearly charged into the Xavier defender and then kept talking to the referee.
In the arena, I was pretty sure that it must have been a block for Strus to be so upset, but after having time to watch multiple angles of the various replays, it was about as clear a charge as you will ever see.
When your two most reliable offensive players are out of the game, and you see that the Demons were down by 12 (22-10), it sure felt like game over. However, the lineup of Hanel, McCallum, Cyrus, Roberts, and Cain, scored on 5 consecutive shots, closing the gap to 2 points (25-23).
Down 22-10 with Strus and Maric out with foul trouble, this lineup of McCallum, Hanel, Roberts, Cyrus, and Cain make 5 consecutive shots to bring it to 25-23. Kept #DePaul in the game against #Xavier. #dpubbpic.twitter.com/Y3LWB6iZIC
Xavier Travels to the South Loop to Take on DePaul
DePaul plays the Xavier Musketeers on Saturday, March 3rd at 11:00 am Central at the newly renamed, Wintrust Arena in Chicago’s South Loop. It will be carried on Fox (Channel 190 on Comcast) and on the Score (Radio 670).
Xavier comes into the game with 26 wins and 4 losses ranked #3 in the AP poll. Only 3 losses in Big East play, twice to Villanova and once to Providence (their only loss of the year in a game decided by 10 points or less.)
This is going to be a quick post, because my heart isn’t in it today. If you read my preview to this game, I stated that Villanova was a well rounded offensive machine. They were. However, for the first 10 minutes of the game, DePaul kept in reaching distance of number 3 ranked Villanova, then the wheels fell off. It took another 20 minutes for the Blue Demons to re-attach the wheels, but by that time they were down 30.
This game sucked. I was so frustrated by halftime that I went to work out to get rid of my angry energy.
I’m going to start with where things went wrong. After Tre’Darius McCallum decided to let Mikal Bridges get by him, and Marin Maric stepped in with help defense collecting his 2nd foul, creating a 3-point play, DePaul was already in a dilemma. Do you stay with Maric and his 2 fouls, or start bringing in reinforcements? Maric left the game, bringing in Paul Reed. After trading baskets, Bridges used McCallum again, but this time McCallum fouled him. Poor defensive decisions lead to massive foul trouble.
What I am trying to get out is that the game quickly devolved in Walk-ons and rarely used bench players being involved. Advantage Villanova.
DePaul Prepares to take on the Number 3 ranked Villanova Wildcats
DePaul plays the Villanova Wildcasts on Wednesday, 2/21 at 7:30pm Central at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia in front of a large crowd wishing their seniors well. It will be carried on FS1 (Channel 237 on Comcast) and on the Score (Radio 670).
Villanova comes into the game with 24 wins and 3 losses. Funny enough, DePaul has beaten 2 of the 3 teams that have been the Wildcats.
After initially being down to the Friars, Eli Cain hit a 3 pointer to put DePaul up 13-12. From that point forward, the Blue Demons never looked back. The Demons went on a 25-7 run to go from 2 down to 16 up over a 8:09 stretch. The Friars got a couple of baskets to close it to 12 with 8 seconds to go in the half. Eli Cain then calmly sunk a buzzer-beating 3 pointer to close the half and put DePaul up 15 at the break.
Has this ever happened to you? All your efforts have been building to a moment, and then once the moment comes…nothing? You walk out of a cold, Milwaukee night to meet up with your familiar partner in an exchange of heat, sweat, and emotion, and instead, you go limp. You fail to follow through. You strain and flail, but you just can’t get it to your goal.
First, first thoughts, I went to the game, and it was an interesting crowd. Super loud Friars fans, and a bunch of semi-engaged Demon fans. 2nd thought, now that I have had a chance to watch the replay, FX1’s ‘All Access’ is hypnotic. You know how you watch a good fight on HBO, and the best part is the corner men conversations?
St. John’s Decides Not to Press the Demons; Poor Choice
We DePaul fans know our weaknesses (ball handling and shooting). Our opponents should know our weakness. Somehow, someway, St. John’s decided to not pressure the Demon ball handlers, the Demons made shots, and DePaul came away with the victory.
DePaul Blows 16 point 2nd Half Lead by gifting 14 Turnovers in last 17 Minutes of Game
I could just stop there, but I won’t. It has become a revolving theme this season. With the exception of the games against, #1 Villanova and #2 Michigan State, DePaul has been in every game with the top 85 programs (see how I got Illinois included in this discussion). Every one of them. DePaul has also lost every one of them. EVERY ONE OF THEM.