Creighton Ousts DePaul from Tournament

While DePaul stuck around for a good portion of their game against Creighton (they were down just 35-33 at half), they couldn't come up with any big plays or defensive stops late in the game and finally succumbed to the Bluejays 78-63 n the first round of the Big East Tournament.

DePaul now ends their season at discouraging 12-20 overall after losing their last eight games and 11 out of their last 12.

With the game tied at 46 after a tight first seven minutes after the half, Creighton would then go on a decisive 26-10 run midway through the second half that would effectively put away DePaul. Creighton would relentlessly attack the hoop all game and scored 32 points in the paint (to DePaul's 18) while also making 21 of 30 free throws; DePaul's meanwhile shot 8-16 from the line.

DePaul had no match for Creighton's James Milliken, who scored a game-high 22 points. He came out guns blazing and shot 8-14 from the field and 3-6 from three point range. Senior center Will Artino also played a key part in the paint with eight points and nine rebounds.

Creighton head coach Greg McDermott said that 26-10 run was crucial to the victory.

“I thought it was really critical that we got into the bonus first,” said McDermott. “By doing that, it allowed us to attack and get to the free-throw (line). We made enough threes, and James shot it well enough the first half, but I think they respected that shot a little more and it opened up some driving lanes.”

Lamenting on another tough loss, DePaul coach Purnell tried to grasp at positives.

“I thought our guys came to play and came to battle,” Purnell said. “Unfortunately, the thing that's bothered us most of the year, the rebounding situation bothered us (again.). We just didn't play well enough for long enough.”

DePaul was led by Jamee Crockett's 15 points, as the senior has now played his last game in a DePaul uniform. This was also the last game for seniors Forrest Robinson (seven points) and Greg Sequele.

The Demons also got double-digit performances from Myke Henry (10 points, while also leading the team in rebounding with nine boards), Billy Garrett Jr. (10 points to go along with a team-high eight assists) and Tommy Hamilton (11 points).

A lot of questions will now surround the Blue Demon program. At the top of the list is if Oliver Purnell will come back to coach his sixth season. This, after all, is a coach who has lost 20 games in each year on the job.

Purnell was asked if he should come back, and despite his disappointment, he still feels confident he can turn this program around.

“I know I want to come back,” Purnell said after the game. “Because, I want to continue to rebuild this program. We've made some progress. But at the same time, I'm just like the fans; I'm not satisfied. So I want to come back to finish the job.”

It remains to see if Purnell's optimism will be met with another sort of reality, as DePaul Athletic Director Jean Lenti Ponsetto was not available for questioning after the game.

Regardless if Purnell comes back or not, this program will have to help foster some good will and momentum prior to opening up their new arena at McCormick Place in a few years. DePaul will now go back to the drawing board and decide what steps are taken to head into the 2015-16 season on a positive note, new coach or not.

We Are DePaul Top Stories