DePaul came into the Nation's Capital skating through the beginning of December 6-1. The Blue Demons were off to their best start since the 93’-94 season, the same year many of this season’s upperclassmen were born.
DePaul struggled to continue their previous success as both teams began shooting ice cold, unable to change the 5-3 score for the first 5 minutes.The George Washington Colonials led a strong first half in the paint, which DePaul could not seem to find an answer for. DePaul shot 34.8% from beyond the arc - certainly not a desirable number, but things like that happen when you hit the road for the first time all season. DePaul’s press has definitely helped them in numerous games down the stretch, relying on it early in the 2nd half when DePaul slowed down George Washington’s consistent success driving the ball.
Among the negative takeaways were the numerous times fouls DePaul committed when overwhelmed on defense. Their press in the second half was too aggressive early on, leaving them exposed on their own end. DePaul smelled their own blood and got trigger happy from deep, straying away from their smart team offense. When DePaul doesn’t play team offense, they frequently turn the ball over. DePaul’s concerns lied within their defense tonight as their shots just weren’t falling. Billy Garrett Jr. played solid, chipping in with 10 points and 4 assists. Tommy Hamilton IV was averaging over 17 PPG over the previous 3 games, but he cooled off Thursday, only tallying 4 points, struggling to get open down low from the opening tip.
One positive to take away from last night's loss was DePaul’s willingness to not fade on the road. Myke Henry had another explosive night, leading the Blue Demons with 22 points. Despite this not being their night in a rowdy student filled building, DePaul remained resilient, drawing fouls and playing their game and outscoring GW 46-39 in the second half. While both benches were extremely active, role players Forrest Robinson, Aaron Simpson, R.J. Curington, and Darrick Wood all chipped in off the bench, provided solid minutes, and coughed up minimal turnovers throughout their time on the floor.
Losses for any team hurt when they end a win streak. DePaul has shown flashes of a re-energized team looking to exceed expectations all year long. The Demons now have the chance to prove that they want to strive for consistent play rather than sulk over tough early season non-conference L's. Coach Oliver Purnell needs to refocus his team as they return to the Allstate Sunday against Illinois State.