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Game Recap: Illinois State 69, DePaul 64

Despite holding the Redbirds without a field goal for the final 6:57, DePaul falls at Illinois State

Rob Grabowski - USA TODAY Sports

Sloppy play led to the demise of the DePaul on Sunday, as the Blue Demons turned the ball over 16 times in their 69-64 loss at Illinois State. In a back and forth battle that saw eight ties and four lead changes, DePaul (7-5) let a seven-point lead slip away in the second half, as the Redbirds improved to 7-5 after a 16-point game from junior Daishon Knight.

Four Factors

DePaul Illinois State
Field Goal % 41.4% 31.3%
3 Point % 35.3% 19.2%
10-14 24-30
Turnovers 16 6

The DePaul defense did more than their fair share of work though, not allowing a field goal during the final 6:57 of the game and holding ISU to just 31.3% from the field. Billy Garrett, Jr. led the Blue Demons with 18 points, while Brandon Young dropped 17 to go along with 7 boards. Star forward Cleveland Melvin struggled, as the ISU defense kept him at 2-for-8 shooting.

Where DePaul faltered to Illinois State was in the turnover battle. The Redbirds scored 17 points off of 16 DePaul turnovers; Illinois State turned the ball over only 6 times. ISU also gained the upper hand at the charity stripe. State converted 24 of 30 from the free throw line, attempting more than double the free throws as the Blue Demons.

DePaul was down two with 36 seconds left when Knight forced a jump ball on a driving Garrett, tying him up and giving the ball back to ISU. After a free throw on the other end to make it 67-64, Brandon Knight threw up a long three point shot that missed. ISU's Bobby Hunter grabbed the rebound, and would make two free throws on the other end to seal it.

Player Grades

Player Grade Comments
Cleveland Melvin C The DePaul star just couldn't seem to get it going offensively, as he was held to four points, matching his career-low as a starter, and fouled out late in the 2nd half. He also moved into sole possession of sixth place on DePaul's all-time blocks list.
Brandon Young B+ Played the most minutes for DePaul, with 17 points (7-for-12 shooting) and seven rebounds. Young moved into ninth on DePaul's all-time scoring list and into a tie for 13th place on the all-time three point field goal list.
Sandi Marcius C Marcius grabbed eleven rebounds, but struggled after getting into foul trouble early, turning the ball over a team-high three times (tied with Young and McDonald).
Billy Garrett, Jr. B Garrett led the Blue Demons with 18 points (5-for-14 from the field), and hit key field goals down the stretch to help keep the game close. A crucial tie-up with less than a minute left in the game cost DePaul an opportunity to tie or win the game.
Tommy Hamilton C+ Hamilton helped lead the bigs for DePaul, who dominated the paint and were a huge reason why Illinois State shot 25% in the second half. Offensively? Hamilton will want to forget this game, as he shot 1-for-6 against a good Redbird low-post defense.
DeJuan Marrero C+ The freshman had a career-high six points along with six rebounds in 14 minutes. He drove the baseline for a beautiful reverse layup late in the first half, showing the athleticism that can continue to grow as playing time increases.
Durrell McDonald A McDonald was a life saver for DePaul, dropping 10 points in 20 minutes of play. McDonald was 4-for-7 from the field, 2-for-3 from beyond the arc, and came up huge to kill a few Redbird runs.
Charles McKinney D McKinney had a few solid plays on defense, but for the most part, didn't make much of an impact in 16 minutes of playing time.

The loss snaps a six-game road non-conference winning streak for the Blue Demons, the nation's fourth longest at the time. DePaul enters Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston on Friday for a match-up with Northwestern, before starting Big East play on New Years Eve at Georgetown.