The 2019 Gavitt Games begun with a demolition brought to you by... the DePaul Blue Demons.
A dazzling performance by Paul Reed and a breakout showing by Jalen Coleman-Lands helped engineer a 93-78 victory for the Blue Demons over the Iowa Hawkeyes. The curb-stomping at Carver Hawkeye Arena gives the Big East an early 1-0 advantage over the Big Ten in these Gavitt Games.
DePaul hopped out to an early 13-0 lead on the Hawkeyes through the first 2:58 of the game. Buckets made by Reed, Coleman-Lands, Romeo Weems, Jaylen Butz and Charlie Moore helped them build that lead as Iowa didn’t quite know what to do. CJ Fredrick finally stopped the DePaul run with a layup on the ensuing possession, but the Blue Demons weren’t done yet.
They swam up to 19-2 two 3-pointers later, propelled up to 29-11 later on, and then swelled up to 35-13 with 8:10 remaining. The score became 40-16 in the blink of an eye, and DePaul held a lead as large as 25 at the :57 mark. The first half was a complete demolition, and Iowa had no earthly idea of how to handle it.
The Blue Demons held serve all the way throughout the second half. Their lead never shrunk to lower than 14, as they kept their foot on the gas and then some. It was as impressive a victory that the team and the program have had, quite frankly, in a really long time.
Paul Reed’s superb start to the season continued on Monday night. Reed dropped 25 points and shot 10-of-14 from the field, including a deft mark of 3-of-4 from 3-Point Land™. Reed has been a terror thus far, with marks of 76.7 and 79.9 in eFG% and TS% through the first four games of the year. He added 12 rebounds to get another double-double on the year, his third of the season and the 12th of his career. The 12 boards are a season high, edging the 11-rebound performances against Alcorn State and Fairleigh Dickinson.
Getting the breakout game that he needed badly was Jalen Coleman-Lands. The former Illinois Fighting Illini was in a rut to start the year, having scored just eight points in his first three games, including a goose egg against the Alcorn State Braves. But Coleman erupted for 17 points on the night against Iowa, the most points he’d scored in a game since he put up 21 against the Indiana Hoosiers on January 7, 2017 while he was still on the Illinois roster.
Coleman-Lands made four 3-pointers, which were not quite the career-high mark of five that he set against — you guessed it — Iowa back in the 2016 Big Ten Tournament. His five assists on the night tied his career best mark that he set back on February 7, 2017 against the Northwestern Wildcats.
Not to be left out of the festivities, Devin Gage had a very good night too. Gage missed zero shots from the field, going 6-for-6 to get up to 13 points. He had four assists, three steals and one block in 29 minutes of action off the bench.
Charlie Moore had eight points, as did Jaylen Butz, but the two were plagued by foul trouble. The two combined for just 36 minutes of action, 16 for Moore, who finished with four fouls while Butz wound up fouling out. Freshman swingman Romeo Weems had nine points, just missing out on double figures, and added six boards, five assists, three blocks and a steal to his line.
Sophomore forward Darious Hall had six points off the bench in 18 minutes, with three boards and an assist. Markese Jacobs put up five points on the night and Nick Ongenda got on the board with a bucket to get up to two.
The aforementioned CJ Fredrick led Iowa with 16 points on the night. Luka Garza had 14 points in 25 minutes, finishing with a team-best eight rebounds, which were matched by senior Ryan Kriener, who had 13 points, as did freshman Joe Toussaint.
DePaul’s dominant performance brings them up to 4-0 on the year. Their four wins on the year mean they’re tied with the Delaware Blue Hens for the most in the entire nation thus far. Hey, that’s pretty crazy, right? The Blue Demons are also 4-0 for just the third time in the last 19 seasons. They hit that mark in 2008-09 (before everything went to crap and they lost 24 of their next 29) and in 2002-03, when they finished out 16-13.
High times are going on in Chicago right now, and justifiably so. DePaul is just winning, winning, winning and winning some more.