DePaul vs. UIC - By The Numbers's Eddy Rivera breaks down the Box Score from Saturday's DePaul victory over UIC.

Arriving at the UIC Pavilion, the DePaul Blue Demons had one goal in mind - to avenge their loss last season at Allstate Arena to the Flames. DePaul accomplished their mission but had to survive a late surge by UIC to seal the victory, 67-63. Both teams traded leads in the first half before the Blue Demons began to assert themselves in the second half, building a 13 point cushion. The Flames, though, refused to give up and stormed back to tie the game at 59 with 2:26 left to play. But back-to-back threes by freshman Jeremiah Kelly and sophomore Dar Tucker helped DePaul reclaim the lead. UIC had one last chance to win the game down 65-63 but Josh Mayo's three-pointer missed, sophomore Mac Koshwal made two free throws to ice the game, and the Blue Demons were able to secure a win.

Mac Koshwal notched his first double-double of the season with 14 points and 15 rebounds. Junior Will Walker added 17 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 steals while Dar Tucker pitched in with 12 points and 7 rebounds. However, the player of the game was Jeremiah Kelly. Although the freshman made just one three-pointer for his only points in the contest, the bucket was a game-changer and helped break a tie ballgame.

A deeper analysis into the numbers can show how the game was won for the Blue Demons.

Team Eff. eFG% TO% OR% FT Rate
DePaul 94.7 44.2 32.5 53.7 23.3
UIC 89.0 35.9 22.6 40.0 26.5

The numbers are split in DePaul's favor. Credit the Blue Demons for their defense as well as ability to crash the offensive boards as the main reasons why the team was able to come away with the victory.

Although DePaul was the more efficient team offensively, their output was much worse compared to the game against the Albany Great Danes. The main culprit to this drop-off is the amount of turnovers the Blue Demons had versus UIC (24). It's no surprise that DePaul's turnover percentage would rise after the game against the Great Danes, simply because the rate was unsustainable. But it's alarming how high the TO% went (8.7% vs. Albany to 32.5% vs. UIC). The ball security was poor for the Blue Demons and nearly cost the team the game. The good news is that the TO% will go down as the season progresses since 32.5% is an inflated number (the highest TO% in the nation last year was 28.6%). How much the TO% will go down remains to be seen.

The effective field goal percentage was one of the main differences in the game, as DePaul's defense was superb in holding UIC's eFG% to 35.9%. The Flames struggled from both the field and beyond the arc, especially from three-point range where the team went 4-22 (18.2%). UIC's Josh Mayo accounted for half of the attempts, going 3-11 (the remainder went 1-11). The Blue Demons struggled offensively as well, shooting only 38.3% from the floor. Yet the main reason why the eFG% is higher than the actual field goal percentage for DePaul is because the team shot well from three, going 7-21 (33.3%). Because the eFG% gives credit more to a made three pointer, the Blue Demons' percentage rose a bit. However, even though DePaul made their threes at an acceptable percentage, the team's shot selection was poor at times and allowed UIC back in the game late in the second half.

The offensive rebounding percentage for the Blue Demons was much better this time around than it was against Albany, as DePaul was able to yield an advantage on the glass against UIC. Rebounding was the other main factor in helping the Blue Demons win the game because it created second and third opportunities on offense. This helped to offset, for the most part, the fact that DePaul was wasting possessions with the amount of turnovers the team had.

The last stat is the free-throw rate, which didn't play a difference in the outcome of the game but aided in the Flames' comeback late in the second half. Even though Koshwal's free throws helped ice the game for the Blue Demons, the game wasn't decided from the free throw line. Overall, UIC held a slight advantage in this department because they made 94% of their free throws, compared to only 66.7% for DePaul. So although the Flames struggled to make shots from the field, they compensated by making their shots from the charity stripe which helped them keep the game close until the end.

DePaul's next game will also be the first home game at Allstate Arena this season, as the Blue Demons will host the Detroit Titans on Wednesday, November 26th. DePaul notched a victory over Detroit on the road last season, 70-64. The Blue Demons are 27-7 in the series all-time against the Titans.

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