DePaul vs. Illinois State Game Preview

The Blue Demons host the Illinois State Redbirds in a non-conference battle at Allstate Arena on Sunday afternoon. We preview the game in this report.

Key Information

DePaul Blue Demons (6-2) vs. Illinois State Redbirds (4-3) – Sunday, December 14th, 3:00 p.m. Central – Allstate Arena, Rosemont, Illinois

Television – FOX Sports 1

Radio – WSCR AM 670

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Game Preview

After failing to seize an opportunity to gain a quality road win at George Washington on Thursday night, the Blue Demons return home to face Illinois State on Sunday afternoon. DePaul is hoping to bounce back in this game much the way they did when they bounced back to win four straight after losing to Lehigh in November.

Last season DePaul lost 69-64 at Illinois State. Since then, both teams have improved quite a bit.

This is a different ISU team with quite a few new faces. This year’s version of the Redbirds is deeper, bigger, and more athletic.

While Redbird guard Nick Zeisloft decided to leave the program and transfer to Indiana, the Redbirds did gain Deontae Hawkins, who originally committed to Wichita State and at one time was a DePaul recruit. They also picked up freshman forward Mikyle McIntosh and junior college transfer DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell.

Akoon-Purcell is leading the Redbirds with 15.7 points per game and 5.7 rebounds per game. Hawkins is scoring 7.9 ppg and pulling down 5.3 rebounds per game. McIntosh is averaging 4.3 ppg, but dropped 18 at UAB last week.

“They’ve got good players,” DePaul coach Oliver Purnell said of Illinois State on WSCR Radio. “They beat us last year in a dogfight. I think they’re better this year. They’re just a tough team. They’re almost exclusively a zone team. They play some amoeba zone, some 2-3 and 1-3-1 zone. We’ve really got to hone our zone attack.”

ISU does play a lot of zone and it is a very active zone.

The Redbirds have had the last week off to prepare for Sunday’s game after winning 78-74 on the road at UAB last Sunday.

ISU’s only losses came at home to Utah State, on a neutral court to Seton Hall, and in a 66-62 home loss where the Redbirds battled Shaka Smart’s VCU squad.

This will be DePaul’s second game against a Missouri Valley team this season after defeating Drake back on November 18th.

The last time that ISU played in Rosemont was January 3rd, 1995. ISU coach Dan Muller was a freshman on that team. In the history of the series, DePaul has never lost at home to Illinois State (12-0).

Illinois State is currently ranked ahead of DePaul at 97th in Division I basketball on Ken Pomeroy’s power rankings.

The Last Time

On December 22nd, 2013 in Normal, Illinois, despite shooting just 31 percent from the field, Illinois State managed to beat DePaul 69-64.

Daishon Knight led the way for the Redbirds with 16 points. Zach Lofton added 14 points. Nick Zeisloft scored 11 for ISU and made 24 of 30 free throws.

Illinois State forced 16 Blue Demon turnovers and score 17 points off of DePaul turnovers.

ISU held DePaul forward Cleveland Melvin to an uncharacteristic four points in the contest.

DePaul freshman guard Billy Garrett, Jr. led all scorers with 18 points. Brandon Young chipped in with 17 points and Durrell McDonald added 10 points.

Illinois State Roster

# Name Ht. Wt. Pos. Class Hometown / Previous School(s)

0 Banyard, Nick 6-8 220 Forward Jr. Flower Mound, Texas / Marcus HS / New Mexico

1 Lee, Paris 5-11 183 Guard So. Maywood, Ill. / Proviso East HS

3 Knight, Daishon 6-1 189 Guard Sr. Baltimore, Md. / Lake Clifton HS / Maine Central Inst. / Odessa College

4 Hunter, Bobby 5-10 191 Guard R-Sr. Reno, Nev. / Bishop Manogue HS / Santa Fe College

5 Hall, Mark 6-3 170 Guard R-So. Round Lake Beach, Ill. / Grayslake North HS / Eastern Wyoming College

10 Jones, John 6-9 262 Forward Sr. St. Michael, Barbados / Garrison Secondary School / The Howe (Ind.) School

11 McIntosh, MiKyle 6-7 234 Forward Fr. Pickering, Ontario / Pickering HS / Christian Faith Center / 22ft Acad.

12 Wills, Tony 6-3 179 Guard So. Indianapolis, Ind. / Ben Davis HS

15 McCloud, Justin 6-4 198 Guard Jr. Bottineau, N.D. / Bottineau HS / Bismarck State College

22 Lynch, Reggie 6-10 257 Center So. Edina, Minn. / Edina HS

23 Hawkins, Deontae 6-8 219 Forward Fr. Dayton, Ohio / Dayton Dunbar HS / Quakerdale Promise Acad.

34 Stawarz, James 6-8 220 Center Sr. Crystal Lake, Ill. / Prairie Ridge HS / Dominican (Ill.) University

42 Ransom, Will 6-8 252 Forward Jr. Fort Worth, Texas / North Crowley HS / Daytona State College

44 Akoon-Purcell, DeVaughn 6-5 194 Guard Jr. Orlando, Fla. / West Oaks Academy / Eastern Oklahoma State College


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