Vlad Moldoveanu, a transfer from George Mason, has been nicknamed "Vlad the Impaler". Tonight at Allstate Arena, the Romanian forward drove a stake through the heart of the Blue Demons.
Vlad shot five of 10 from beyond the arc and eight of 15 from the field overall and pulled down eight rebounds.
American (2-8) coach Jeff Jones knew that he had a difference-maker on his hands, but didn't know just how big of a difference
"This kind of game was within consideration I think," said Jones. "We weren't really sure. He's our best player. That's not a surprise to anybody."
Moldoveanu led the Romanian national team in scoring during the 2009 FIBA EuroBasket Qualifying Tournament during the summer. He averaged 18.3 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.
Where DePaul (6-4) lost this game was on the glass. Playing without junior forward Mac Koshwal, the Blue Demons were outrebounded 39-27. Nobody on DePaul managed more than four rebounds, while sophomore forward Stephen Lumpkins grabbed 14 boards for American.
"We've been living on the edge," said DePaul coach Jerry Wainwright. "We've been playing small and we've been playing close to the vest."
The Blue Demons trailed early in the second half 34-24 and went on an 11-0 run spurred by the scoring of sophomore forwards Devin Hill and Eric Wallace.
By the time the Demons took the lead, Jones had inserted Moldoveanu back in the lineup and the game was tight the rest of the way.
DePaul trailed 59-57 with 2:23 to play in the game. Senior guard Will Walker had three opportunities down the stretch to take the lead or tie the game but missed each time.
Only Walker and Hill finished in double-figures for DePaul, Hill with 16 points and Walker with 13.
Nick Hendra chipped in for the Eagles with 17 points including three trifectas.
As a senior leader of the Demons, Walker had been determined not to lose to a team from a lesser conference at home this season.
"We told ourselves we weren't going to let this happen this year, but it happened," said Walker. "We just have to come back and play harder on Saturday."
DePaul returns to Allstate Arena on Saturday afternoon for a non-conference game versus the Texas State Bobcats.
Add a Walkon / Subtract a Walkon
Walkon guard Jimmy Drew made his first appearance in a DePaul uniform tonight after being granted a transfer waiver earlier in the week.
Freshman walkon Ryan Siggins was sidelined today due to a leg injury that occurred in practice this week.
American Impales DePaul, 62-57
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