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Stanford vs. DePaul game recap: Blue Demons pull off the upset of the Cardinal

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Following a grueling loss to Lehigh, DePaul managed to bounce back and find its identity, pulling off the morale-boosting upset of Stanford.

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

After an unexpectedly dominant performance that lasted the entire game, DePaul managed to defeat Stanford by a score of 87-72, moving to 3-1 on the season.

The first half was a side of DePaul that fans and coaches alike had not seen at all this season. From the get-go, DePaul was doing a fantastic job of controlling the pace of the game and forcing Stanford turnovers. For the longest time, the Blue Demons were simply sticking with Stanford, allowing them to trade blow for blow. DePaul seemed to have learned from the Lehigh game, however, as they were not settling for any jump shot that had even a tiny semblance of openness. Instead, the Blue Demons managed to find ways to penetrate and get into the lane, working hard to either drive with Crockett or Garrett, or set up Henry or Hamilton for an easy layup.

DePaul was also doing a great job of working hard to turn the ball over and force some of Stanford's key big men into foul trouble. In the first half, all but two players that saw court time managed to procure a steal for DePaul, which formed the solid chunk of DePaul's lead (the Blue Demons had 7 points off of turnovers). Stefan Nastic was also put into foul trouble early, which didn't matter in the slightest in terms of his court time. He still saw twenty minutes, but he played a bit more relaxed for fear of having to sit for the remainder of the game. Ultimately, the spread-out scoring attack from DePaul allowed them to go into the break up 41-30.

In the second half, DePaul came out like a team on a mission, while Stanford continued its seemingly aloof play. DePaul continued its scoring barrage, working to get quality shots in transition. From monster dunks to the half-court throwdown from Tommy Hamilton to Jamee Crockett, this game seemingly had it all. DePaul was rolling and there simply was nothing that Stanford could do to stop it. The Cardinal certainly weren't doing enough to shoot their way out of a deficit, but they were certainly doing all they could to try and get a solid amount of second chance points, something that helped spark a Stanford run that cut the lead to 10 about midway through the second half.

Stanford was ultimately able to cut that lead to only 5 points with about 9 minutes in the half. The Cardinal finally managed to heat up from three, and DePaul was doing a horrible job of locking down the defensive rebounds. Stanford continued to feed off of second chance points, all while forcing bad looks from the Blue Demons. Ultimately, DePaul was able to find itself once again, working hard to drive and get the foul called, capping off a 4-0 run with a big three from Aaron Simpson, who hit three of those en route to giving DePaul the 64-55 lead. From that point on, they managed to keep playing with the ferociousness they had been channeling all day, cruising to a colossal victory over Stanford.

Despite how great this win is, it only serves to amplify the sting of the Lehigh loss that much more. It's frustrating to see DePaul play up or down to its competition, when it obviously has what it takes to hang with--and beat--some of college basketball's best teams. If DePaul can just manage to stick to its gameplan--driving the lane and getting good looks from kick-outs or layups--they can make the rest of this season very interesting. At this point, it's simply an issue with mentality and how DePaul sees their opponents, something that they can no doubt overcome.

Please let this Blue Demons team be the same one that shows up against NIU and Chicago State. Losses against them would be unconscionable after the way DePaul looked today.

Notes:

  • Before this meeting, DePaul and Stanford had only played each other twice before, with Stanford winning in 2010, and DePaul winning in 1992.  This, of course, means that the Blue Demons now lead the all-time series with the Cardinal.
  • DePaul was an 8.5 point underdog in this game.
  • Myke Henry proved to be an offensive force once again, scoring over 20 points for his second straight game.  He set a new career high today, breaking his career high from . . . last week . . . with points.
  • This game was a total reversal of the Lehigh game.  Garrett found some offense again, McDonald got back into the scoring column, and the Blue Demons shot over 50% from three, limiting Stanford to around from the parabola.  It's disconcerting that DePaul is so wishy-washy, but I'll take the win nonetheless.
  • Jamee Crockett is a dunk machine
  • Yes . . . say what indeed.