When a team is allowed to shoot 60 percent from the floor, chances are said team will win the game.
Apparently defense was too much to ask of the Blue Demons in Villanova’s 94 -71 rout of DePaul Tuesday night.
After dropping a 55 -52 decision to Providence Sunday, the Wildcats (14-9, 5-5 Big East) came into Allstate Arena knowing they had to win against a vulnerable DePaul squad in order to stay in the Big East hunt. The Blue Demons (10-12, 1-8 Big East) had dropped their last six games, including a close overtime loss against Notre Dame Saturday. It was clear in the first half that the Blue Demons desperately wanted this one.
Both DePaul and Villanova shot well early. Cleveland Melvin led the way for the Blue Demons in the first half with 13 points, including an exciting six points in the last minute of the first to tie the game at 40 going into halftime. Worrel Clahar shot well from beyond the arc in the half, hitting a trio of three-pointers. Clahar and Melvin were two of the only bright stars for DePaul in the game, each finishing in double figures.
The Blue Demons were confident in the first, shooting an impressive 47 percent from the floor, including 50 percent from beyond the arc.
The Wildcats hung in there as well, led by guards James Bell, Ryan Arcidiacono and Darrun Hilliard who, combined with their team, shot an impressive 48 percent from the floor.
The second half was a completely different story for DePaul, for the Blue Demons seemed gassed returning to the court.
After the Wildcats opened the second with an 11-3 run, the Demons couldn’t respond, trailing by as many as 25 points in the final seven minutes.
The Wildcats defense couldn’t have shown up at a worse time for DePaul, holding the Blue Demons to a mere 28 percent from beyond the arc and 42 percent from the floor.
Villanova played with conviction in the second, shooting a lights-out 68 percent from the floor, including 85 percent from beyond the arc.
All the Blue Demons could do was watch it happen.
“We were pretty exhausted,” said forward Jamee Crockett, “but that’s definitely not an excuse. We just didn’t come out and play with as much energy.” Crockett finished with 16 points.
Freshman guard Arcidiancoco had the best game of his young college career, shooting 7-of-12 for 23 points, while Bell and Hilliard combined for 33 points.
“We didn’t start the game with the kind of (defensive) juice that we have the last couple of games,” said head coach Oliver Purnell. “And we certainly didn’t start the second half that way. When Villanova shoots the three-ball pretty decently, they’re tough to handle. We didn’t take that away from them.”
On a positive note for DePaul, Melvin finished the game with 19 points and five rebounds. Clahar had 12 points and seven rebounds.
The Blue Demons are back at home Saturday, Feb. 16 when they take on Rutgers at noon.