DePaul vs. Seton Hall Game Preview

The Blue Demons look for their first Big East win as the Seton Hall Pirates come calling to Allstate Arena on Wednesday night.

Key Information

DePaul Blue Demons vs. Seton Hall Pirates – Wednesday, January 12th, 8 p.m. Central – Allstate Arena, Rosemont, Illinois

Television – WCUU in Chicago – The U Too

For viewers watching with an antenna, the over-the-air digital position will be WCIU-TV 26.5 and 26.6. The U Too will also be available on analog WCUU-CA, Channel 48. Cable subscribers will see The U Too on Comcast 248, RCN 35 and WOW 170.

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Game Preview

The phrase "must win" is one of the most overused in sports. It may not apply to Wednesday night's game, but the matchup with Seton Hall (7-9, 1-3) does present DePaul (6-9, 0-3) with one of their best opportunities to grab a Big East conference win and end their 16 game losing streak in conference play.

After coming within a Brandon Young missed shot of beating West Virginia last week, the Blue Demons figure that they are due to win one against the Pirates.

"The next one," junior guard Jeremiah Kelly said after the loss to WVU. "We've got to get the next one."

With their improved play of late, DePaul has raised expectations in Chicago to the point where many expect them to beat Seton Hall. If it isn't a "must win", there sure is a sense of urgency for the Blue Demons to get a "W" on Wednesday night.

DePaul has had an eight day layoff to prepare for this one, while Seton Hall is coming off a 61-56 loss to fourth-ranked Syracuse on Saturday that featured a late-game rally by the Pirates where they came back from being down by 14 points with less than six minutes to play.

Former New Mexico State transfer Herb Pope had a huge effort in that game, grabbing 20 rebounds and scoring 14 points. Pope is arguably one of the best rebounders in the nation. It's been a remarkable comeback for Pope who collapsed and nearly died in a coma over the summer. Along with forward Jeff Robinson (12.5 ppg and 6.4 rpg), Pope will be a load for DePaul to handle on the interior.

Seton Hall has had trouble scoring the basketball since losing leading scorer Jeremy Hazell to a broken left wrist in the third game of the season and then being shot during the Christmas Holiday break. Hazell was averaging 24 points per game before the injury.

As of this writing, it is unclear whether Hazell will play in Wednesday's game or not. It appears that Willard is keeping things close to the vest. Hazell was scheduled to see a hand specialist over the last two days, but so far there is no word on his prognosis from the Seton Hall camp. He could be cleared to play on Wednesday or Hazell could decide to take a medical redshirt for the rest of the season.

The uncertainty over Hazell's status has made DePaul coach Oliver Purnell's game preparation more difficult.

Freshman Fuquan Edwin (10 ppg) has helped pick up some of the slack in Hazell's absence and was named Big East Rookie of the Week in December.

After defeating South Florida to start Big East play, the Pirates have now lost three straight. They are a team that is not shooting the ball well from the perimeter. After going zero for 17 from beyond the arc in the first half against Syracuse, the Pirates finished the game at three for 26 from three point territory.

Senior guard Jordan Theodore (11.1 ppg) missed all 10 of his shots in that contest. When their outside shots aren't falling, the Pirates will look to drive.

"They are a dribble-drive team," DePaul coach Oliver Purnell said on WSCR radio. "They will look to drive you. That's an area where we've been constantly trying to improve. If we're going to win this game, we've got to improve in that area, there's no question about it. Their guards are looking very simple in their offense. Most of it is get that ball to the wing guys and let them drive it. It's really important that we close out with the idea that they are going to drive. If we go zone, they are going to drive as well."

Seton Hall rarely breaks the 70 point barrier in games, if DePaul comes prepared with enough offensive firepower, they will walk away with the win.

Seton Hall does lack depth in the frontcourt and will be at a disadvantage if Pope or Robinson get into foul trouble. It has been a rough start for new Pirate coach Kevin Willard. Sophomore forward Ferrakohn Hall transferred after the first semester and freshman forward Patrick Auda (3.1 ppg) will miss Wednesday's game with a case of turf toe. Freshman center Aaron Geramipoor made his debut for the Pirates on Saturday after sitting out the start of the season recovering from a bout with mononucleosis. He played only one minute and will require some time to get his strength back.

For DePaul to have a chance in this game, they will need to get off to a better start. The Blue Demons have struggled when opening games. Against WVU, Purnell changed his starting lineup to include former walk-on guard Jimmy Drew to try to provide some spark to start the game. It will be interesting to see if Purnell mixes up his starting lineup again this week.

The Last Time

On February 14, 2010, Seton Hall dealt DePaul a 79-71 loss for Valentine's Day.

Four Blue Demons finished in double-figures. Senior guard Will Walker led all scorers with 19 points. Freshman Tony Freeland contributed with 18 points and eight rebounds. Michael Bizoukas chipped in with 12 points. Mac Koshwal finished with a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Jeremy Hazell led the way for the Pirates with 18 points. Jeff Robinson scored 16 points and Herb Pope added eight points and 15 rebounds.

Seton Hall Roster

No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Yr. Hometown (Prev School)

1 Okoloji, Anali F 6-8 220 Fr. Brooklyn, N.Y. (Impact Academy)

2 Lawrence, Keon G 6-2 177 Sr. Newark, N.J. (Univ. of Missouri)

10 Theodore, Jordan G 6-0 174 Jr. Englewood, N.J. (Paterson Catholic)

14 Polynice, Eniel G 6-5 220 Sr. Sarasota, Fla. (University of Mississippi)

15 Pope, Herb F 6-8 236 Jr. Aliquippa, Pa. (New Mexico State Univ.)

21 Hazell, Jeremy G 6-5 188 Sr. Harlem, N.Y. (Patterson School (N.C.))

22 Jackson, Jamel G 6-3 202 Sr. Brooklyn, N.Y. (Technical Career Institutes)

23 Edwin, Fuquan G/F 6-6 205 Fr. Paterson, N.J. (Paterson Catholic)

30 Gatling, Darnell G 5-9 150 Sr. Brooklyn, N.Y. (H.S./Law Enforcement & Public Safety)

32 Robinson, Jeff F 6-6 230 Sr. Trenton, N.J. (Univ. of Memphis)

33 Auda, Patrik F 6-9 225 Fr. Brno, Czech Republic (Canarias Basketball Academy)

35 Dill, Peter G 6-3 200 Jr. Long Hill, N.J. (Koinonia Academy)

42 Geramipoor, Aaron F/C 6-11 225 Fr. Manchester, England (Canarias Basketball Academy)

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