DePaul (9-8) played 15 minutes of their best basketball of the season on Thursday, coming back from an eleven-point deficit to defeat the Bulldogs. After Tuesday's double-digit loss to Creighton, where almost everything went wrong for Oliver Purnell and co., DePaul shot better from the field, hitting critical shots to pull them back into the game on Thursday. It showed the resiliency of this squad to rally against the odds, something they haven't shown much throughout the year.
Against the Bluejays, they did what they needed to do in limiting Doug McDermott's play (he still managed to score 19 points), and got a boost thanks to the injury suffered in the first half by guard Grant Gibbs. Creighton was just too good however, and their shooters were lights out, capitalizing on bad games from Billy Garrett and their front court. DePaul almost responded with a lazy double-digit loss in Hinkle Fieldhouse, but it was the present (Cleveland Melvin and Brandon Young) and the future (Garrett and Tommy Hamilton) of this program that exhibited the never-say-die attitude Oliver Purnell has been looking for all season.
Now back over .500, the Blue Demons have a win they can look back on as an opportunity to make something of this season. Many believed at the start of last fall that DePaul was the worst of the 10-team Big East, and some still do. After five straight last-place finishes, not much hope was shown that a change was coming. Avoiding an 0-4 start to conference play is a start, Thursday's upset of Butler can be the turning point of DePaul's season.
|Cleveland Melvin||A+||Stars show up in big moments, and Melvin did just that against Butler. Following up a 16 point performance against Creighton, the senior dropped 30 on the Bulldogs, including some clutch field goals late to get the W.|
|Brandon Young||A||Not to be outdone, Brandon Young had a heck of a week as well, leading the Blue Demons with 24 points against Creighton, and contributing 18 in the win at Butler.|
|Sandi Marcius||C+||The Purdue transfer has seen his minutes drop in recent weeks, evident by his scoreless performance on Tuesday as he logged just 15 minutes. He made up for it as a key low-post contributor for the Blue Demons on Thursday, earning eight points and six rebounds in 28 minutes before fouling out.|
|Billy Garrett, Jr.||B||Garrett had the worst game of his young career on Tuesday, going 0-10 from the field against Creighton. The freshman bounced back for 22 points on 6-of-11 shooting at Butler.|
|Tommy Hamilton||B+||Hamilton has seen his struggles, but the freshman put forth his best two-game stretch of the year, including a career-high 17 point, 12 rebound game on Thursday. The big man showed his range as well, going 5-for-5 from three-point range over the week.|
|Greg Sequele||D+||Sequele's earned increased minutes lately, playing well on defense in 25 minutes of play last week.|
|Durrell McDonald||C||McDonald saw 19 minutes of playing time in each game last week, failing to earn a point against Butler after putting up five on Creighton.|
McKinney has inserted himself into a starting role, but hasn't done much with it. After a six point game on Tuesday, he couldn't stay out of foul trouble against Butler.
The Blue Demons return to Allstate Arena on Tuesday to take on St. John's (9-6). Steve Lavin's crew has dropped their first three Big East games this season, including a 74-67 home loss to No. 8 Villanova on Saturday. DePaul will look to move to 2-3 in conference play when they welcome the Red Storm at 6 P.M. CST on FOX Sports 1.