DePaul vs. Columbia Game Preview

The DePaul Blue Demons take on the Columbia University Lions in their season opener at Allstate Arena on Tuesday night. In this preview, we hear from both coaches…

Key Information

DePaul Blue Demons vs. Columbia University Lions - Tuesday, November 17th, 8:00 p.m. Central – Allstate Arena, Rosemont, Illinois

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Game Preview

Tuesday's matchup is the season opener for both teams. It will also be the first meeting ever between the Lions from the Ivy League and the Blue Demons.

The Lions are led by Coach Joe Jones, who is in his seventh year at the helm of the Columbia program. Jones knows the Big East well having been an assistant coach at Villanova under Jay Wright and Steve Lappas.

Columbia is coming off a 12-16 season where they finished 7-7 in the Ivy League and tied for fourth in the conference.

The Lions are led by senior guard Patrick Foley. Foley, who averaged 10.9 points per game and 2.5 assists per game as a junior, has been named one of the top 30 seniors in college basketball when he was nominated for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. Jones is looking for more assists from his top scorer this season.

"Pat has to do a job for us in terms of making good decisions of when to score it, when to pass it," Jones said during the Ivy League teleconference. "We've used him in the past as a scorer and we'll be dependent on him to do that. But I think his distribution, in terms of his assist-to-turnover ratio and running our ballclub at a high level, is going to be as important and where I want him to go."

The Lions will be without the services of 7-0 center Max Craig, who is sidelined with a foot injury.

Junior Brian Grimes is anxious to get on the court for the Lions after sitting out two straight years. Grimes was sidelined with an injury last season and sat the prior season after transferring from La Salle in the Atlantic 10 conference.

"He's very smart, very skilled and every day I see something different from him," said Jones. " He seems to be coming into his own and he seems to be getting his explosiveness back. He seems to be shooting the ball well. He's committed to playing defense and knows that's the cornerstone of what we do here at Columbia and he's taken on that role of being the anchor of our defense."

Senior guard Niko Scott is the team's sharpshooter who shot 42.2% from beyond the arc last season.

One familiar name on the Lions' roster is senior guard Kevin Bulger. Bulger, who averaged 5.3 ppg last year, played his high school ball at Glenbrook South High School.

Like many Ivy League teams, the Lions bring to the court a trademark defense. In 2008-09, Columbia held opponents to 62 points per game and 41 percent shooting from the field. The Lions were 42nd in Division I in scoring defense, and 21st in the nation in three point field goal defense at 30.6%.

The Blue Demons will be returning to Allstate Arena for the first time since February 28th. DePaul has been unable to practice there due to a circus at the arena the last few weeks.

Wainwright likes the progression that he's seen from his team so far in practice.

"I really like our team," Wainwright said. "I think that they've grown up an awful lot. I think they've done a great job of sharing the ball. It's a good time for us to play."

Junior college transfer Mike Stovall has recovered from a sprained ankle and has steadily improved in practice. Wainwright was unsure whether Stovall would start, but expects him to get significant playing time in the lineup.

"He's really done a good job the last couple days," Jerry said. "He's certainly in our top six."

The top six in the rotation for the Blue Demons will be Stovall, senior guard Will Walker, junior center Mac Koshwal, sophomore forward Devin Hill, sophomore forward Eric Wallace, and sophomore guard Jeremiah Kelly.

Will Walker is expected to play at the point guard position when in the backcourt with Stovall.

"The team has a lot of versatility," Jerry said. "I like to think that the overall ball handling ability may be better than people think. I think the trend in our league is to play more perimeter guys. I think ultimately the combination of Will and Mike will be pretty good."

Columbia Roster

No. Number Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Yr. Hometown (Prev School)

1 Agho, Noruwa G 6-3 205 So. New City, N.Y. (The Peddie School)

0 Ampim, Asenso F 6-6 240 Jr. Accra, Ghana (The Groton School)

10 Barbour, Brian G 6-1 175 Fr. Alamo, Calif. (Monte Vista)

11 Bulger, Kevin G 6-3 200 Sr. Glenview, Ill. (Glenbrook South)

55 Cisco, Mark C 6-8 250 Fr. Chester, N.J. (West Morris Mendham)

44 Craig, Max C 7-0 275 Jr. Montreal, Quebec, Canada (St. Thomas More Prep)

41 Crimmins, Zack C 7-0 220 Jr. Falls Church, Va. (Bishop Denis O'Connell)

20 Crockett, Chris G 5-10 185 So. Columbus, Ohio (Columbus Academy)

15 Daniels, John F 6-7 220 Fr. Sioux City, Iowa (New Hampton School)

21 Dhaliwal, Sandeep G 6-2 180 Fr. Farmingdale, N.Y. (Farmingdale)

12 Egee, Steve G 6-2 190 So. Ridley Park, Pa. (Ridley)

5 Foley, Patrick G 6-2 185 Sr. Blue Point, N.Y. (St. Anthony's)

2 Grimes, Brian F 6-7 220 Jr. Philadelphia, Pa. (Brewster Academy/La Salle Univ.)

3 Johnson, Matt G 6-7 210 So. Moorpark, Calif. (Oaks Christian School)

4 Kowalski, Dean G 5-10 165 Fr. Westfield, N.J. (St. Patrick)

24 Mase, Issa F 6-5 200 So. Wilmington, Del. (Archmere Academy)

14 Piscina, Tom G 6-2 175 Fr. Pelham Manor, N.Y. (Choate Rosemary Hall)

42 Scott, Niko G 6-3 200 Sr. New York, N.Y. (Christ the King)

30 Staab, Blaise F 6-5 210 So. Tulsa , Okla. (Memorial)

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