It was Billy Garrett’s buzzer beating jumper that made DePaul (3-1) victorious.
With the game tied at 66-66 with 13 seconds to go, DePaul coach Dave Leitao called timeout to draw up one last play.
“It was originally a man-to-man play that we drew up, they came out in zone, so we had to switch it up a little bit,” said Garrett. “We ran the same play, just screened a guy, and made the shot. It really just came down to making the shot. It was a tough shot. Nothing special, just came off a ball screen, pulled up and it went in.”
Garrett caught an elbow to the nose at the team shootaround earlier in the day and started the game wearing a protective mask as a result. He later ditched the mask. That was the right move to make as Garrett only scored two points in the first half and came up with 21 points in the second stanza to finish with 23 points on seven of 15 shooting and a perfect eight for eight from the free throw line. .
“I couldn’t see anything,” said Garrett. “It was getting sweaty and sticky, it was a terrible situation. So I took it off. I still played bad when I took it off. I got into a rhythm and we came out with the victory.”
It was a tale of two halves. One where MSU went on a 9-0 run at one point in the first half. One where the Blue Demons turned the ball over 14 times, shot zero for eight from three point range, and had only 2 assists as a team in the first half.
Missouri State (3-1) led by as many as 13 points with 9:04 remaining in the game, but DePaul would not back down.
“We were down obviously for most of the game,” said DePaul coach Dave Leitao. “It was a stretch game where we were hanging our heads a little bit. I thought our pressure got Missouri State back on their heels, as a result we got more aggressive.”
Fueling DePaul’s comeback effort was the play of junior college transfer Tre’Darius McCallum. After going scoreless in the first half, McCallum finished with a double-double performance of 10 points, 12 rebounds, four steals, two blocks, and two assists.
“He played great,” Garrett said of McCallum “He played with a lot of energy and crashed the glass. Without his defense, we wouldn’t have won the game. He got a lot of deflections. He played hard, got some dunks, he played great.”
Sophomore guard Eli Cain was the Blue Demons' only constant throughout the game. Cain ended up with 22 points on nine of 16 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds.
It was a solid defensive effort by the Blue Demons. Missouri State scored over 90 points in their first three games and was held to just 66 tonight. DePaul held MSU’s leading scorer, Austin Ruder, to just six points.
For the second straight game, DePaul outrebounded their opponent. The Demons held the glass by a margin of 37 to 28.
The Bears were led by Chris Kendrix, who came in off the bench to score 15 points in the losing effort.
The Blue Demons now take a brief break for the Thanksgiving Day holiday and will return to McGrath-Phillips Arena on campus on November 30th for a game against the Drake Bulldogs.
Game Notes from DePaul Sports Information
- DePaul is 3-1 to start the season for the sixth time in the last nine seasons.
- DePaul’s three-point streak was extended to 711 straight games.
- Eli Cain reached double-figures for the 20th time in his career... he has scored in double-figures in all four games this season with at least 20 points in each game.
- Cain’s eight rebounds set a new career high.
- Billy Garrett Jr. moved into 30th on DePaul’s all-time scoring list... he passed Ken Warzynski (1,203 points, 1967-70) and Drake Diener (1,208 points, 2001-05)... Garrett has 1,192 points.
- Garrett hasn’t missed a free throw this season... he is 21-for-21 from the line through the first four games.
- Tre’Darius McCallum registered the first double-double of the season by a Blue Demon... it was the first since Billy Garrett Jr.’s 19 points and 11 assists against St. John’s on Feb. 25, 2016.
- Wednesday was the first meeting between the two programs... the two sides could meet again on Dec. 23 at the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic... DePaul is 123-46 all-time against the current membership of the Missouri Valley Conference.