DePaul Edges Northwestern in Home Opener

With late game heroics, Draelon Burns led the DePaul men's basketball team past Northwestern in a 54-53 thriller Saturday afternoon at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois.

DePaul (1-1) senior guard Draelon Burns struggled shooting in the previous game at Creighton and picked up a shoulder injury late in that game. Limited in practice this week, playing just 19 minutes in this game and scoring just two points, it was Burns who came off the bench with 1:37 left in the game full of confidence. With Northwestern (0-2) leading 53-52 and four seconds remaining it was Burns that shot in the game winning leaner.

Burns who missed a potential game winning shot in the NIT at Air Force felt good to have this game winner under his belt. "I was really trying to redeem myself for last year at Air Force," said Burns. "I'm pretty confident taking the last second shot, because my teammates expect me to go and get the ball in situations like that, make plays, try to score and take the open shot. It was a tough win, they're a great team, our team played very hard and worked very hard towards this situation."

"Draelon is not 100%," said Blue Demons coach Jerry Wainwright. "He's been beat up a little bit here in the first two games. There is nobody else I'd rather have take a last second shot than Draelon Burns."

Freshman point guard Michael Thompson led the way for Northwestern with 24 points in 37 minutes. Thompson would have played 40 minutes, but fouled out while charging Wesley Green with 3:19 left. "I thought that was the play of the game," said Wainwright.

"I wish he was in there the last three minutes," said Northwestern coach Bill Carmody

Sophomore Will Walker received the Waldo Fisher-Frank McGrath Award as the game's Most Valuable Player. After struggling early in the game, Walker finished with 13 points on five of 12 shooting, four rebounds and two steals. "I just tried to keep playing my game because I had a tough first half," said Walker. "I tried to lift my spirits and do as hard as I could."

"I thought the key performers in the game were Jabari Currie and Will Walker," Wainwright observed. "I thought both those kids were really aggressive."

Currie finished with 10 points on four of six shooting for his first double-digit game of the season.

Wainwright also praised the DePaul newcomers playing in just their second game. "I thought a lot of young players really responded," said Jerry. "I thought Mike Bizoukas had a great second half. I thought he really got us back in the game defensively. I thought Dar Tucker's activity was critical. You can certainly see his athleticism. Mac (Koshwal) is just a ferocious rebounder. He's had 20 rebounds in two games. Matija (Poscic) is going to be fine once he settles down. He had a good segement defensively in the second half. He learned. These are tough games for these kids to break in."

The Blue Demons dominated the game on the boards, outrebounding Northwestern by a 46-26 margin and holding the Wildcats to only two offensive rebounds. Koshwal and Green had nine rebounds apiece.

DePaul will attempt to get their record above .500 as North Carolina A&T comes calling after the Thanksgiving holiday break on Saturday, November 24th.

Game Notes from DePaul Sports Information

- DePaul's coaching staff wore pink lapel ribbons to show their support for the mother of Northwestern's Kevin Coble as she fights breast cancer.

- The Blue Demons scored first as Jabari Currie made a three pointer at 19:30 in the first half.

- DePaul has opened both of its game this season with a three pointer.

- Will Walker led DePaul as he tied his career-high of 13 points. His previous career-high came on November 10th at Creighton when he also led the Blue Demons in scoring.

- Walker was given the Waldo Fisher-Frank McGrath Award as the game's MVP.

- Wesley Green finished the game with nine rebounds, one shy of his career-high of 10.

- Currie finished with 10 points. It marked his first double-digit effort of the season and the eighth of his career.

- The Blue Demons opened the game on an 8-0 scoring run over the first four minutes.

- DePaul trailed 26-27 at halftime.

- DePaul leads the all-time series with Norhwestern 19-9.

- DePaul is now 78-7 all-time in home openers. The Blue Demons have won 19 of the last 20 and 67 of the last 69.

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