DePaul Blue Demons vs. #2 Connecticut Huskies – Wednesday, January 28th, 8:00 p.m. Central
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"Coach is stressing rebounds. Rebound, rebound, rebound, that's all he talks about. We've got to cherish the rebounds. Especially the offensive boards."
That's what DePaul sophomore forward Mac Koshwal said following DePaul's domination of Alcorn State in late December. Since then, the Blue Demons have done the exact opposite in Big East play.
DePaul has been dominated on the glass by Big East opponents by an average of 11.6 rpg per game. On the offensive boards it has been even worse as the Demons have been outrebounded by a 110-68 margin in conference play.
In Saturday's 79-70 defeat at Marquette, the Blue Demons were outrebounded 41-28 by a team that likes to play small ball and only has one starter taller than 6-6.
Needless to say, a lot of DePaul's problems can be traced to their lack of hustle, boxing out and getting to rebounds and loose balls.
It's not going to get any easier either. On Wednesday night, DePaul welcomes in Hall of Fame coach Jim Calhoun and his UConn team. The Huskies sport a front line of Hasheem Thabeet (7-3), Jeff Adrien (6-7), and Stanley Robinson (6-9) and are in second place in the league in Rebounding Offense, Rebounding Defense, and Rebounding Margin (+9.2).
Thabeet and Adrien each average 10.1 rpg and are tied for fourth in the Big East in rebounding. To put this in perspective, this is like having two Mac Koshwal's (10.5 rpg).
DePaul play-by-play man Zach Zaidman on WSCR radio compared Thabeet and Adrien to the old school Knicks - Patrick Ewing and Charles Oakley. That is a great analogy. With Thabeet in the middle, UConn also is leading the league in blocked shots, averaging seven rejections per game.
Even with their tremendous front line, where UConn's size really shows is at the guard spots with a 6-4 Jerome Dyson and a 6-2 A.J. Price.
The Huskies are coming off of a 69-61 victory at Notre Dame where they snapped the nation's longest home court winning streak at 45. UConn's size clearly frustrated the Irish. Adrien scored 12 points and snared a career-high 19 rebounds. Jerome Dyson led UConn in scoring with 15 points. A.J. Price chipped in with 13.
UConn's only loss came at home in the Big East opener to the Georgetown Hoyas (74-63). Since then the Huskies have been on a tear.
Wednesday's game will be a reunion for DePaul's Devin Hill and UConn point guard Kemba Walker. The two freshmen played together for the New York Gauchos on the AAU circuit.
DePaul Coach Jerry Wainwright on Hasheem Thabeet's Shot Blocking
"He's a factor in terms of defense," Wainwright told WSCR radio. "He is the ultimate goalkeeper back there and allows the rest of their players to really get out into you."
DePaul Coach Jerry Wainwright on Jeff Adrien
"Jeff Adrien is nationally a little bit underrated. We all think he is one of the premier power forwards in the country. He's a big strong young man. I believe he is second in the league in double-doubles for his career."
The Last Time
The Blue Demons blew a 13 point second half lead to lose 65-60 to the Huskies in February of 2008 in Hartford, Connecticut. Sophomore center Hasheem Thabeet had 16 points, 13 rebounds and eight blocked shots for the Huskies.
Craig Austrie had 14 points and Jeff Adrien added 12 points and 11 rebounds for UConn.
Draelon Burns had 20 points for DePaul, while Will Walker added 10 points.
NO. NAME YR. POSITION HT WT HOMETOWN/HIGH SCHOOL
4 Jeff Adrien Sr. F 6-7 243 Brookline, Mass./Brewster (N.H.) Academy
24 Craig Austrie Sr. G 6-3 176 Stamford, Conn./Trinity Catholic HS
55 Kyle Bailey So. G 6-3 170 Lancaster, N.H./White Mountains Regional HS
2 Donnell Beverly So. G 6-4 190 Hawthorne, Calif./Leuzinger HS
10 Johnnie Bird Sr. G 6-0 165 Fort Bragg, N.C./Bridgeport (Conn.) Central HS
11 Jerome Dyson Jr. G 6-4 190 Potomac, Md./Proctor (N.H.) Academy
33 Gavin Edwards Jr. F 6-9 234 Gilbert, Ariz./Mesquite HS
30 Scottie Haralson Fr. G 6-4 215 Jackson, Miss./Provine HS
13 Alex Hornat Jr. F 6-5 205 South Windsor, Conn./South Windsor HS
44 John Lindner Sr. F 6-5 265 Cheshire, Conn./Cheshire HS
5 Ater Majok # Fr. F 6-10 233 Sydney, Australia/American International HS
32 Jonathan Mandeldove Jr. C 7-0 240 Stone Mountain, Ga./Hargrave (Va.) Military Academy
35 Charles Okwandu So. C 7-1 255 Lagos, Nigeria/Harcum (Pa.) JC
12 A.J. Price Sr. G 6-2 181 Amityville, N.Y./Amityville HS
21 Stanley Robinson Jr. F 6-9 210 Birmingham, Ala./Huffman HS
34 Hasheem Thabeet Jr. C 7-3 263 Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania/Cypress (Texas) Comm. School
40 Jim Veronick Sr. F 6-8 200 Durham, Conn./Coginchaug HS
15 Kemba Walker Fr. G 6-1 172 Bronx, N.Y./Rice HS
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