As has been the case in so many of their losses this season, it was the tale of two halves for the DePaul Blue Demons on Wednesday night.
DePaul looked great in the first half of their 87-69 loss to the Butler Bulldogs, as Femi Olujobi hit a pair of threes (he had only made two on the year coming into the evening), Kamar Baldwin was held to just two points (despite hauling in 10 rebounds) and the defense was forcing Butler into bad shots. DePaul led 40-36 at the break, and it looked like they could be 3-2 in Big East play.
Then, the second half started. Just like the Northwestern game or the Boston College game or the Villanova game or the Xavier game, DePaul let Butler go on a huge (17-0) run to turn the game upside-down. By the time the run was over, Butler led 63-47. Of course, it didn’t help matters that the Bulldogs caught fire from long-range, making five threes in the first five minutes of the second frame, and shooting 7-11 from deep in the half.
Baldwin also regrouped after a tough half and scored 15 points on 7-8 shooting over the final 20 minutes, but the biggest story of the game for Butler was Jordan Tucker. The Duke transfer had a career-high 19 points and made five threes, as he has started to emerge as a solid scoring option for the Bulldogs at the perfect time.
Olujobi and Paul Reed continued their stretch of strong play for the Blue Demons, combining for 43 of DePaul’s 69 points and 17 of DePaul’s 30 rebounds, but the damage was too great to overcome as Max Strus had just 12 points on 12 shots.
Butler improves to 11-7 on the year and 2-3 in Big East play. They’ll return home and host St. John’s on Saturday.
DePaul falls to 10-6 on the year and 2-3 in Big East play. They’ll head to Newark on Saturday to face Seton Hall in a rematch from last Sunday.