DePaul Blue Demons vs. #17 Villanova Wildcats - Thursday, January 3rd, 8:00 p.m. (Central) – Allstate Arena, Rosemont, IL
Television – ESPN2
Radio – none
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DePaul may have forgotten what Allstate Arena looks like. On Thursday night, the Blue Demons are playing their first game at Allstate Arena since December 13th.
Villanova comes into this game with a 10-1 record and a number 17 ranking in the AP Poll. The Wildcats would be unbeaten if it weren't for a questionable foul call in the closing seconds against North Carolina State.
Jay Wright's Villanova teams are always strong on the perimeter with guards. This year is no exception. While DePaul has been struggling with guarding the perimeter thus far. Needless to say, the Blue Demons will have their hands full with trying to contain sophomore sensation Scottie Reynolds who is leading the Wildcats with 17 points per game. Reynolds first exploded onto the scene as a freshman when he dropped 25 points on the Blue Demons in a game that DePaul won 73-65 in Philadelphia last January. In March, Reynolds came up big again and scored 29 points against the Demons as the Wildcats knocked DePaul out of the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden.
6-10 Villanova big man Casiem Drummond is out with a stress fracture in his right ankle. Drummond has been replaced in the starting lineup by former DePaul recruit and freshman phenom point guard Corey Fisher. Fisher is averaging 12 ppg for Nova and stepped up with 18 points in a starting role in the Wildcats win over LaSalle last week.
With Drummond out of the lineup, junior forward Dante Cunningham has stepped up as Nova's man on the boards. In the LaSalle game, Cunningham grabbed 12 rebounds and scored 12 points.
Starting out 4-7 in non-conference play, the Blue Demons are anxious for the Big East conference slate to begin. "When things go bad for you early in the year, in the back of your mind you're thinking let's get to league play," DePaul coach Jerry Wainwright told WSCR radio. "Let's go back and reestablish and show some mental toughness."
The bright spot for DePaul has been the play of their freshman. Darquavis Tucker was named Big East Rookie of the week for his 18 point, seven rebound performance in DePaul's 70-64 win at Detroit last weekend. While big man Mac Koshwal has flourished in the frontcourt for the Demons averaging a near double-double with 11.2 ppg and eight rebounds per game. Koshwal has been the Demons most consistent player up front.
If DePaul is going to have a chance in this game, they are going to have to step things up defensively. Wainwright has had the team playing mostly zone defenses the last few games due to some of the lack of experience on defense. DePaul will need to contain guys like Fisher, Reynolds, and junior forward Shane Clark who has expanded his perimeter game.
Notes: Blue Demons freshman point guard Michael Bizoukas is not expected to play due to illness. Bizoukas had been recovering from a bout with mononucleoisis.
The Last Time
Freshman Scottie Reynolds scored 29 while senior Curtis Sumpter dropped 25 points as the Wildcats defeated DePaul 75-67 in the opening round of the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 7, 2007. Sammy Mejia scored 20 points while Wilson Chandler and Draelon Burns had 18 apiece for DePaul.
No. Name Pos. Cl. (EXP) Ht. Wt. Hometown High School
0 Antonio Pena Forward RS FR (1L) 6-8 235 Brooklyn, N.Y. St. Thomas More
1 Scottie Reynolds Guard SO (1L) 6-2 190 Herndon, Va. Herndon
3 Malcolm Grant Guard FR 6-0 175 Brooklyn, N.Y. Winchendon Academy (Mass.)
4 Jason Colenda Guard SO (HS) 6-0 205 Fairfax, Va. Bishop O'Connell
5 Casiem Drummond Center SO (1L) 6-10 275 West Orange, N.J. Bloomfield Tech
10 Corey Fisher Guard FR 6-1 200 Bronx, N.Y. St. Patrick's (N.J.)
15 Reggie Redding Guard SO (1L) 6-5 205 Philadelphia, Pa. St. Joseph's Prep
20 Shane Clark Forward JR (1L) 6-7 205 Philadelphia, Pa. Hargrave Military Academy
21 Andrew Ott Forward RS FR (1L) 6-10 230 Abington, Pa. Germantown Academy
22 Dwayne Anderson Guard/Forward JR (2L) 6-6 215 Washington, D.C. St. Thomas More
24 Corey Stokes Guard FR 6-5 220 Bayonne, N.J. St. Benedict's
33 Dante Cunningham Forward JR (2L) 6-8 230 Silver Spring, Md. Potomac
42 Frank Tchuisi Forward JR (2L) 6-8 215 Douala, Cameroon St. Benedict's
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