In what took seven years and 51 games, DePaul at last beat a ranked opponent, and on the road to boot. The last time they beat a top-25 team was back in January of 2008, when they beat Villanova at Allstate Arena.
DePaul had enough energy and heart late to take down the Pirates to once again reclaim a tie for first place in the Big East at 5-2. With crucial stops down the stretch and some timely free-throw shooting, DePaul earned a win that may move the needle nationally.
Again, it took a lot of heart and gumption down the stretch, as a back-and-forth contest eventually swung the Pirates way late. A Jaren Sina three-pointer with 5:49 to go punctuated an 8-0 Pirate run, and from there it looked like DePaul may fold.
However, the team would not quit. Two free throws by Jamee Crockett and a three-pointer by Darrick Wood would cut the Pirates' lead to three, 55-52, with 4:08 to go. Then another gut-check moment would challenge the Demons. With 2:47 to go in the game, DePaul's point guard and leader, Billy Garrett Jr., would be called for his fifth foul and thus had to leave the game. The Demons did not wither, though. They got some big baskets by Wood and Rashaun Stimage, plus a few key free throws down the stretch to earn a convincing and statement-making win.
DePaul coach Oliver Purnell stressed to his team to keep believing in each other. Both when they were down eight with just over five minutes to go, and then when Garrett Jr. fouled out.
“Just believe,” Purnell said after the game on what he told his team. “In some ways you talk about what's going to happen in the game and those were some of the things that you talk about. I said it was going to be hard here and Billy fouling out just makes it hard. That's why it feels good to win when the games are hard fought like that.”
Wood, who was one of four Demons to score in double figures with 11, said he was ready for the challenge with the team minus Garrett Jr.
“I wanted to manage the game as a point guard on the floor (when) Billy (left) the floor,” Wood said. “I wanted to still look for my shot and be aggressive.”
Garrett, who finished with 13 points, never wavered in his belief that the team could pull it off.
“We're resilient,” Garrett Jr. said. “I'm just really proud of the way we fought back, stayed together and believed in each other. We talked about that before the game and that came through today. It feels great, but we got to get ready for Xavier.”
Myke Henry led the Demons with 14 points and 8 rebounds, while Rashaun Stimage had his best game as a Demon with 10 points, seven rebounds and two blocks.
Purnell praised Stimage's defense after the game and the way he composed himself in the paint.
“Rashaun's ability to protect the rim and be physical inside was really important,” said Purnell “He adds another dimension, there's no question about that.”
DePaul were the aggressors early in both halves, building 10-point leads in both stanzas, only to allow Seton Hall to come back in the game both times. The Demons ability to attack the rim was vital, as they scored 30 points in the paint. That was significant tonight, especially for a DePaul team that normally shoots the three-ball well, but managed to only shoot 3-16 from three-point range.
The Demons also did a fantastic job of shutting down Seton Hall's leading scorer Sterling Gibbs. Gibbs shot a woeful 2-16 from the field (0-7 from three-point range) and was held to just eight points.
Purnell credited Crockett of doing a good job of locking down Gibbs.
“I have to give Jamee Crockett most of the credit,” Purnell said. “Late, we did some switching, but he did a nice job on him and that was important for us.”
For Seton Hall they got a monster night from Angel Delgado, who erupted for a huge 19-point, 19-rebound double-double, which topped the team.
In a game that was ugly with neither team scorching the nets (DePaul shot 37.5 from the field, Seton Hall shot 30 percent), it still was a thing of beauty for DePaul, who come away winners on the road in the Big East over a ranked team.
“It's still early but when your team (has) experiences like that to draw from, it's always helpful for your confidence,” said Purnell.
Postgame Notes from DePaul Sports Information
DePaul’s 5-2 record is the best start in BIG EAST play... the win ends DePaul’s losing streak against ranked opponents at 51 games... DePaul’s last win over a ranked team was an 84-76 decision over No. 17/16 Villanova on Jan. 3, 2008 at Allstate Arena... DePaul’s last road win over a ranked team was an 84-81 win at No. 16/16 Wake Forest on Dec. 13, 2005... Durrell McDonald played in his 85th game... Seton Hall leads the series, 10-5... the win was the first for DePaul at Seton Hall.
DePaul Upsets No. 24 Seton Hall
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