DePaul needed this one.
With less than four minutes to go and trailing by eleven, DePaul mounted a comeback to force overtime, and was able to upset Butler in a double-overtime thriller, 99-94.
|Field Goal %||58.2%||47.9%|
|Points off Turnovers||15||20|
|Second Chance Points||12||14
The Blue Demons (9-8) pick up their first Big East victory off the season, avoiding a four-game losing streak to start conference play. Meanwhile, Butler (10-5) have lost their first three games in the new conference, letting a big one slip away in Hinkle Fieldhouse Thursday night.
DePaul stayed with the Bulldogs despite trailing most of the evening, falling behind by eleven after Butler's Khyle Marshall threw down a dunk with 3:46 left.
That's when Tommy Hamilton began an 11-0 DePaul run with one of his three clutch 3-pointers, en route to career highs in points (17) and rebounds (12). His three was followed by trey's from Cleveland Melvin and Billy Garrett Jr., and then a short jumper from Melvin to send the game to overtime.
DePaul dominated the first overtime, holding a six-point lead with 26 seconds to go. Butler wasn't through though, picking up seven points around two DePaul free throws to pull within one with 11 seconds to go. After Melvin split a pair of free throws, Kellen Dunham forced up a shot that was missed and tapped back to Jackson Aldridge, who floated up a shot to beat the buzzer and extend the game.
The second overtime was more of the same, as DePaul jumped out to a five-point lead before Butler battled back, tying the game at 94 thanks to Dunham's sixth three-pointer of the night. The Blue Demons would ride their seniors the rest of the way after a Melvin jumper and free throws from Brandon Young sealed DePaul's first victory of the new year.
Same Woes, New Outcome
DePaul shot better on Thursday than they have so far in Big East play, connecting on 58% of their shots, including going a crucial 8-for-11 in the overtime periods. Stars make big shots down the stretch, and despite missing some major free throws late in the game, Cleveland Melvin hit the shots he needed the most, going 10-for-14 to notch his fourth career 30-point game to go along with eight rebounds. Billy Garrett bounced back from a scoreless performance against Creighton to score a career-high 22 points before fouling out in overtime.
But sloppy play once again nearly cost DePaul this game, both in regulation and in overtime. The Blue Demons failed to wait for help on a few fast breaks that came up empty, made terrible passes on the transition, and could've wrapped up the game in the first overtime before a turnover on the inbounds led to Butler heading to the foul line and cutting the deficit to two. DePaul's victory will overshadow its 18 turnovers, but it's something that needs to be corrected before they welcome St. John's on Tuesday.
Still Winless in Conference Play
After a 10-2 start, Butler has gone 0-3 in their first three Big East contests, highlighted by Thursday's collapse to one of the conference's most struggling programs.
Kelvin Dunham came back from a 0-7 performance in the first half to finish with 30 points, knocking down some key three's to match DePaul's surge. The Bulldogs' front court of Marshall, Erik Fromm and Kameron Woods combined to go 18-27, with Woods registering 17 points and 14 boards.
However, the defensive side of the ball is what became the achilles heel for the Bulldogs. Giving DePaul open looks killed them in the contest, and allowing the Blue Demons to drive down open lanes for easy 2's helped the boys in blue get the W in extra time. Butler is the better team, but through three games, they haven't showed their staying power just yet in the Big East.
DePaul will get some well-deserved time off after playing two games in 48 hours before they return to Allstate Arena on Tuesday to match up against the Red Storm of St. John's. Meanwhile, Butler has to put this loss aside quickly as they meet up with Georgetown at home on Saturday.