Welp, that’s over.
Everyone tried to be as positive as possible about Thursday night’s DePaul/Rutgers Gavitt Games showdown. FOX Sports 1 sent Tim Brando and Bill Raftery, they had a primetime slot, everything, and FOX should be commended for that.
This game, however, deserves no such commendation, especially from the DePaul side.
The Scarlet Knights came to Rosemont after winning their first two games of the season. They leave with their first three-game winning streak since 2013, when they were still part of the Big East, after defeating DePaul, 66-59.
For the first ten minutes, this was a back and forth tilt. Around the six-minute mark, Rutgers went on a 11-2 run to go from trailing 20-19 to leading 31-22. The Scarlet Knights never looked back.
Coming out of the half, the Scarlet Knights went on another run, 19-6 this time, to extend their lead to 54-32, their largest lead of the night. DePaul chipped away in the final ten minutes to get within single-digits, but the lead was insurmountable at that point.
Just like in Sunday’s season-opening victory, Eli Cain was an offensive force for the Blue Demons. The sophomore guard had 24 points on 8-13 shooting and a career-high five threes. Cain also played 37 of the game’s 40 minutes. If he continues this trajectory, he’s going to be a problem in the Big East this season.
Also just like in Sunday’s win, Billy Garrett struggled mightily Thursday night. Garrett fouled out with just over eight minutes to play, and left the game with five points on 1-11 shooting. If the Blue Demons want to compete this season, Garrett has to get out of this early funk he’s been on.
DePaul was also seemingly dealt a blow with about ten minutes left when freshman guard Devin Gage hit the ground appearing to be in pain after getting his shot blocked. Gage didn’t return.
For Rutgers, Corey Sanders led the way with 15 points, but the real story was rebounding. The Scarlet Knights had a size advantage over the Blue Demons and they exploited it all night, winning the rebounding battle by a 46-27 margin. Deshawn Freeman and Mike Williams led with nine rebounds each.
The Blue Demons (1-1) will remain in Rosemont to play Milwaukee (1-1) on Sunday afternoon.