From the opening salvo to the closing bell, this one was all DePaul Basketball.
The DePaul Blue Demons started off their season at 2-0 after getting a dominant win tonight against the visiting Drake Bulldogs, by a score of 80-62. This is the first home opener DePaul has won since 2011.
DePaul really did not have a singular star scorer tonight, as a combined effort helped put DePaul over the top. All five of DePaul's starters had nine or more points tonight, proving that it is possible for the Blue Demons to effectively spread the ball around, ensuring plenty of good looks for a myriad of players.
This game was not close from the beginning onward (besides a few odd first half Bulldogs scoring runs), as DePaul started off with the hot shooting hand. Forrest Robinson picked up right where he left off in the previous game, nailing an early three. Durrell McDonald, however, did it all and then some for DePaul in the first half, accounting for six first half points, three assists, a block, and a steal. He was feeling it in the first half and, despite not putting up astronomical scoring numbers, McDonald made his presence felt all over the court.
The Bulldogs made it interesting about halfway through the first half, however, as Chris Caird managed to knock down two straight threes to narrow the DePaul lead to only 5. That 10-1 run sparked one of DePaul's own, as the Blue Demons managed to go on an 11-3 run to head into halftime up 38-25.
From the outset of the second half, DePaul took over and never let up. The second half was full of offense from DePaul, who managed to pile on the points against a Drake team that struggled to defend Bowling Green a few nights ago, a trait that spilled over into this game.
After a poor offensive performance in the first half, with his only points coming off of hitting a three to open the game, sophomore guard Billy Garrett, Jr. managed to find his rhythm in the second half, hitting another three and scoring 12 total points in that half. His assist numbers were solid and it was nice to see him find his groove after struggling early on. Those are promising signs for an underclassmen--resilience is a priceless commodity in college basketball.
The star of the night, however, was Durrell McDonald, who managed to have a completely well-rounded statline. McDonald was all over the court tonight, scoring points, dishing out solid passes to teammates for the score, crashing the boards, and playing lockdown defense. On a night that featured subpar play from Tommy Hamilton, it was nice to see a player who averaged only 5 points per game last season step up and lead the Blue Demons to a win.
DePaul will take a week off and welcome the Lehigh Mountain Hawks into Allstate Arena on November 26th. That's plenty of time to rest up and focus on playing hard-nosed defense without getting into foul trouble.
- Durrell McDonald's final statline was too pretty to not include. He wound up with 10 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block. Oh and I'd be remiss to leave out the fact that he shot 100% from the field.
- DePaul managed to defend the arc well against a Drake team that absolutely lit up Bowling Green a few nights ago. That was some very eye-opening, tough defense exhibited by the Blue Demons tonight.
- DePaul hit 81% of their free throws. I'll take it.
- Tommy Hamilton fouled out with 7 minutes left in tonight's game. He has seen foul trouble in both games this season. If he is to make an impact, which he will, of course, he must play without getting fouls constantly called against him. It really hampers DePaul's frontcourt play.
- Myke Henry did this: