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DePaul rounds out their eight game homestand against Duquesne

The Blue Demons look to get back into the win column Tuesday night

NCAA Basketball: DePaul at Villanova Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

TV, Times, and Lines:

TV: FS1

Date: Tuesday, December 7

Time: 8:30 p.m. EST

Spread: DePaul -8.5

Total: O/U 145.5


Preview:

On Tuesday night, the 6-1 DePaul Blue Demons host the 3-6 Duquesne Dukes in their last home non-conference game of the season. The two programs have faced off 17 total times, with the Blue Demons holding a slight 14-13 record. The last game the teams have played each other was a 75-62 DePaul win in January of 1991.

Both teams are looking for their first win of December. This will be the first time that we see Tony Stubblefield’s team play following a loss. On this past Saturday, DePaul had a hard fought four point defeat against their inner city rival Loyola-Chicago. The Blue Demons were in it for the majority of the game and showed that they can hang against very good teams. On the other side, the Duquesne Dukes are coming off of a one point loss at Marshall.

The main issue for the Blue Demons on Saturday was their shooting. DePaul shot 25/64 (39.1%) from the field and an abysmal 5/23 (21.7%) from three. When playing a team of Loyola’s caliber, a 5 for 23 night from behind the arc gives your team a very low chance of winning. A positive in this loss was DePaul’s play despite the struggles of their star Javon Freeman-Liberty. JFL was in foul trouble for most of the night, meaning that the Blue Demons needed to run the offense through someone else, and sophomore David Jones picked up that slack.

The only thing standing in the way between DePaul and a 7-1 record to open the season are the Duquesne Dukes. The theme of this Duquesne team is inexperience. This will only be the third non conference road game for the Dukes under 5th year head coach Keith Dambrot. Only seven players returned from Duquesne’s roster last season, five being freshman. This has been reflected through the first nine games this season. two years ago, Duquesne had an impeccable 9-0 start, and now, only a couple seasons later, they are sitting at a 3-6 start. Three of their top four scorers this season are underclassmen, meaning the Dukes have a bright future, but unfortunately that doesn’t start now. What can be a dangerous team in the following years has found themselves in a look ahead season.

Players to Watch:

Javon Freeman-Liberty (DePaul): It is hard to not include JFL on this list, so I will continue to put him on. The senior star for the Blue Demons exhibited his first real struggles this season last game, scoring a career low nine points. This can be attributed to the early foul trouble he was in, as well as having to face one of the top defenders in the country. Regardless, he has a chance to get back on track tonight against a team that gives up 72.3 points per game to opponents. Look for JFL to put up his fifth double double tonight.

Jalen Terry (DePaul): Last game, because of JFL’s foul trouble, the Oregon transfer saw his minutes increase heavily. In only his third game of the season after being cleared by the NCAA, Terry took over the point guard role and did not disappoint. The former Mr. Basketball of Michigan has looked very comfortable in his larger role with the Blue Demons, showing that he can be a playmaker off of the bench and give coach Stubblefield great minutes. Look for Terry to have at least six points and three assists coming off the bench tonight for DePaul.

Amir “Primo” Spears (Duquesne): The freshman has made an immediate impact for the Dukes and looks to be a future star. Spears is coming off of a career high 23 point game, shooting 9-18 (50%) from the field against Marshall. Including his raw scoring abilities, the 6’3” guard has been a defensive threat as well. Primo has averaged 2.0 steals a game counting a game against American where he had six steals, which was only one steal shy of Duquesne’s single game record. Look for Spears to have at least 12 points along with a couple of steals.

Prediction:

Tuesday night should be a game where the more experienced DePaul team will dominate on both sides. After struggling shooting the ball, look for the Blue Demons to bounce back on the offensive end and score 80+ points. I think that DePaul’s defense should continue to be strong and will hold the Dukes to under 70 points, meaning that they would cover the -8.5 point spread. On top of this, I think that the Blue Demons’ high scoring will help hit the over which is set at 144.5 points. My final prediction is that DePaul will easily win this game and improve to 7-1 before hitting the road on Friday.