The Big East took a hit in the opening contest of the Gavitt Games, as DePaul fell to Penn State by a score of 68-62 Tuesday night at the Bryce Jordan Center.
Here are three takeaways from Tuesday's contest.
DePaul has to compete down the stretch
After a first half marred by sloppy play, turnovers, and a six point halftime deficit, the Blue Demons found themselves in a hole they had dug themselves into coming out of the break.
Then, seemingly, the entirety of the second half, DePaul trailed by three to five points.
On the surface, that's good news for the Blue Demons. It's good to be competitive on the road against a Penn State team that is better than most people think.
However, it's a new era for DePaul, and they need to take the next step and grab the lead in a situation like that and never look back.
The Blue Demons have guys like Billy Garrett or Myke Henry who can score the ball from anywhere on the floor. They need to start taking over down the stretch in games like this.
DePaul has gotten from point A to point B, but it's now time to start heading to point C.
Myke Henry and Eli Cain can play
Of course, we learned that about Henry last year. But it's nice to see that Henry (17 points and nine rebounds tonight) is keeping up his high level of play.
Henry doesn't get the love that the other big men in the conference seem to get, but he should. He's a top five offensive big man in the Big East, and his defense is steadily improving.
If Henry can continue this level throughout the nonconference season, the Blue Demons might be able to surprise a couple teams in the Big East.
Meanwhile, this game was a big step for Eli Cain, one of DePaul's top incoming recruits.
Cain had 13 points on 6-14 shooting, two steals, and two assists on great passes. If DePaul can continue to get that kind of effort out of the freshman going forward, he could be a big-time bench player this season.
Penn State's experience won out
Penn State spend the summer looking for someone to replace leading scorer DJ Newbill, who is now playing overseas. While that task might prove tough, the Nittany Lions got great production out of guard Shep Garner and forward Brandon Taylor.
Garner had 16 points, five assists, two steals, and a couple clutch buckets down the stretch for Penn State, while Brandon Taylor led all scorers in this game with 22 points on 7-10 shooting.
Replacing Newbill may never happen for the Nittany Lions, but Garner and Taylor are doing all they can to try and make the offensive departure not felt quite as much.