DePaul Blue Demons vs. Northwestern Wildcats – Saturday, December 19th, 1:00 p.m. Central – Allstate Arena, Rosemont, Illinois
Television – FOX Sports 1
Radio – WYLL AM 1160 and http://www.radiodepaulsports.com/
The DePaul Blue Demons will look to bounce back from two straight losses against the Northwestern Wildcats on Saturday afternoon at Allstate Arena. This game marks the first of a five-year series. The Blue Demons will host three of the matchups, and the Wildcats will net the other two at Welsh-Ryan Arena.
Northwestern enters the contest at 9-1, but their schedule has presented at least a few favorable matchups. Nine of Northwestern’s 10 opponents rank below No. 113 on Ken Pomeroy’s college basketball ratings. Although the No. 57 Wildcats battled back and forth with No. 11 North Carolina in late November, the Tar Heels were without point guard Marcus Paige, the Preseason ACC Co-Player of the Year.
After their latest win over Mississippi Valley State on Tuesday night, Northwestern matched its best 10-game start since the 2011-12 season.
Over to the bench, Chris Collins, the former assistant and associate head coach on Mike Krzyzewski’s staff, is in his third season at Northwestern. Collins holds a record of 36-37 with the Wildcats.
Gunning for their first NCAA tournament appearance in program history, Northwestern’s backcourt is off to a blistering start. Point guard Bryant McIntosh averages 15.6 points and 6.3 assists per game. The 6-foot-3 sophomore has even raised his field goal percentage from 42.1 percent as a freshman to 49.6 percent, along with a team-high 46.2 percent clip from downtown.
Shooting guard Tre Demps can light up the scoreboard, too, averaging a career-high 15.6 points per game. On top of that, freshman forward Aaron Falzon dials up 9.3 points per game, as well as a team-high 22 triples.
In order to slow down these dynamic scorers, the Blue Demons need to put a blockade on the arc, especially after their last performance. DePaul allowed Stanford to shoot 49 percent from the field, including a 52.6 percent clip from three-point range.
In the post, Alex Olah presents a challenge for DePaul on both ends of the floor. The senior averages 11.8 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game. The 7-footer produced 21 points and squeezed down 11 rebounds against Mississippi Valley State.
If the Blue Demons want to snap their two-game losing streak, Billy Garrett Jr. and the rest of his mates must take care of the basketball. DePaul has racked up 40 turnovers over the last two games, eight of them coming from Garrett Jr.
Additionally, DePaul must display energy for a full 40 minutes. Versus Stanford, the Blue Demons shot 36 percent from the field in the first half and looked lethargic. DePaul bounced back in the second half to the tune of a rock-solid 51.7 field goal percentage.
The Wildcats hold a scoring margin of plus-15.2 per game and have shown an improvement defensively from last season. For DePaul to pop a dent into that number, Aaron Simpson must continue to spark DePaul’s offense. The 5-foot-11 senior poured in 16 points against Stanford with four triples.
Prediction: Northwestern 73, DePaul 66
The Last Time
On December 27, 2013 at Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, the Blue Demons eeked out a 57-56 victory as DePaul freshman Billy Garrett, Jr. laid one in as the final buzzer sounded.
Following the game, the Waldo Fisher-Frank McGrath Award for the game's Most Valuable Player was awarded to Northwestern guard Tre Demps, but everyone in the building knew that it was Billy Garrett, Jr. who was the true MVP.
After missing his first five 3-point attempts of the game, Northwestern point guard David Sobolewski put the Wildcats on top 56-55 by burying a three with less than five seconds remaining in the game.
DePaul coach Oliver Purnell then called a timeout to setup his play. With one hitch, it went pretty much according to plan. The play called for Brandon Young to inbound the ball from the baseline to Cleveland Melvin standing at halfcourt, Melvin was to then pass to Garrett, Jr. who was running up the sideline for the game winning shot.
Instead Melvin passed the ball to Durrell McDonald, who still managed to find Garrett as he was coming up the sideline yelling for the ball. Garrett laid the ball in as time expired to give DePaul the victory.
Both teams were cold shooting the ball. The Blue Demons shot 36.8 percent from the floor and held Northwestern to 32.1 percent shooting. DePaul stole the ball 10 times and forced 15 NU turnovers.
DePaul also struggled at the charity stripe going 11 for 21.
The Blue Demons had some balanced scoring on that day. Sandi Marcius led the Demons with 12 points, while Melvin scored 11 and collected six rebounds. The two helped the Demons to outscore NU in the paint by a 36-12 margin.
Demps led all scorers with 23 points off the bench to earn the MVP Award. Drew Crawford scored 15 points, but went zero for five from beyond the three point arc and five of 17 from the floor.
NO. NAME POS. HT. WT. YEAR HOMETOWN/HIGH SCHOOL PREVIOUS SCHOOL
1 Joey van Zegeren C 6-10 235 Gr. Hoogeveen, Netherlands / Canarias Basketball Academy Virginia Tech
4 Vic Law F 6-7 200 So. South Holland, Ill. / St. Rita
5 Dererk Pardon C 6-8 230 Fr. Cleveland, Ohio / Villa Angela-St. Joseph
10 Charlie Hall F 6-5 200 Fr. Los Angeles, Calif. / Crossroads School
14 Tre Demps G 6-3 202 R-Sr. Concord, Calif. / Ronald Reagan (San Antonio)
20 Scottie Lindsey G/F 6-5 205 So. Hillside, Ill. / Fenwick
22 Alex Olah C 7-0 275 Sr. Timisoara, Romania / Traders Point Christian Academy (Zionsville, Ind.
23 Jordan Ash G 6-3 190 Fr. Bolingbrook, Ill. / St. Joseph
30 Bryant McIntosh G 6-3 185 So. Greensburg, Ind. / Greensburg
32 Nathan Taphorn F 6-7 215 Jr. Pekin, Ill. / Pekin
34 Sanjay Lumpkin G/F 6-6 220 R-Jr. Wayzata, Minn. / Benilde-St. Margaret's
35 Aaron Falzon F 6-8 213 Fr. Newton, Mass. / Northfield Mount Hermon
44 Gavin Skelly F 6-8 225 So. Westlake, Ohio / Westlake