DePaul had lost 11 of their last 13 games entering tonight and one of them did come against a then-ranked George Washington team, but no one expected this tonight in Rosemont. The Blue Demons got off to a great start and had to weather the storm a few times during Providence comeback attempts, but finished the game strong.
Myke Henry was huge for the Blue Demons with 27 points on 12-18 from the field and 11 rebounds. When these big upsets come about, more times than not, they happen because a player for the underdog steps up and that is exactly what Henry did tonight.
The Blue Demons also got 16 points, six rebounds, four assists and clutch free throws from talisman Billy Garrett Jr. who has carried the program during his career at DePaul. During Garrett’s time in Rosemont, there are not many wins that rank higher than this one. This was the highest ranked team the Blue Demons have defeated since they took down #5 Kansas in 2006.
DePaul started the game off on an 11-2 run, but the Friars were able to fight back despite star Ben Bentil injuring his ankle and getting into foul trouble. The game would be tied at 38 as the teams headed into the locker room.
Bentil would play just four minutes in the second half and finish with six points on 3-7 shooting from the field. His absences hurt Providence big time, especially when it came to rebounding. The Blue Demons outrebounded the Friars by an astonishing 48-24 and outscored Providence 42-26 in the paint. Clearly, Bentil means so much to his team as they were not able to defeat a team that picked up just its second win in conference play. We will see how it impacts the Friars going forward with big games on the horizon. Providence was also without sophomore sharp shooter Jalen Lindsey, which certainly did not help things either.
The Friars were still able to hang around, but Kris Dunn struggled with his shot all night long. Dunn finished with 14 points, three boards and eight assists. However, those 14 points came on 5-20 shooting from the field and Dunn also missed two key free throws down the stretch.
One bright spot for the Friars was the sharp shooting of freshman Ryan Fazekas who finished with 13 points on 4-7 shooting from the field and 3-6 from deep. Fazekas had been dealing with mono for most of the season so for PC it must have been nice to see him play well.
But this night is about DePaul as they celebrate one of their biggest wins in a long time. The Blue Demons will look to keep it up on Saturday when they head to Omaha to face Creighton. Providence hosts Villanova on a Saturday in a rematch of the Friar’s win over Nova in Philadelphia earlier this season. On Saturday, so many important games will be played in the conference that keeps on giving.
In the Big East, you can run, but you cannot hide. Providence learned that lesson tonight.