They really were! It was 31-31. DePaul played fairly well in the first half and it looked like just maybe something memorable and exciting was going to happen, just like the Notre Dame game a couple weeks ago.
Also just like the Notre Dame game? DePaul came out and laid an egg in the second half as Michigan State breezed to a 73-51 victory.
Maybe Michigan State is still a very good team even without preseason All-American Miles Bridges (ankle), but for DePaul to hang with them for 20 minutes then look entirely lost for the next 20 has to be infuriating, especially since it’s happened dozens of times in the past decade.
There’s a lot of talent on the Blue Demon roster. They challenged themselves by facing Notre Dame, Illinois, Michigan State, Oregon, and Northwestern this year. The one thing that really couldn’t happen in that sequence of games was to go 0-5. The Blue Demons are 0-3. While they deserve credit for challenging themselves, the results have to come.
Back to the game, it was about as exciting as it could be. Max Strus, Eli Cain, and Devin Gage played well in the first half, combining for 20 of DePaul’s 31 points. Strus also had three first half steals.
Michigan State’s Matt McQuaid was a nuisance in the first half, hitting three threes. He’d continue to be a nuisance for the rest of the game, leading the Spartans with 20 points and six threes
The second half was ugly, and that’s putting it mildly, for DePaul. The Blue Demons went ten minutes without hitting a field goal en route to their 20 point second half. DePaul shot under 30% in this game, which makes it incredibly hard to beat anybody, let alone Michigan State.
The Blue Demons get back to it Friday against the Oregon Ducks, who surprisingly lost to UConn earlier Thursday evening. It will be interesting to see how DePaul is able to respond against an undoubtedly angry Oregon bunch.