The DePaulia

Takeaways from DePaul’s win against Georgetown

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Eli Cain. 
(Konrad Markowski / The DePaulia)

Eli Cain. (Konrad Markowski / The DePaulia)

Eli Cain. (Konrad Markowski / The DePaulia)

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Eight games into an 18-game Big East Conference slate and the DePaul Blue Demons already have matched their conference win total (two) from a season ago.

On Wednesday night, the Blue Demons (9-11; 2-6 Big East) beat the Georgetown Hoyas (13-7; 3-6 Big East) 74-73 at Capital One Arena in Washington D.C. Curiously, both the Blue Demons’ wins in conference play this season have been away from newly-built Wintrust Arena.

Wins, no matter the opponent, are precious in the Big East Conference. The win against Georgetown snapped a three-game skid for the Blue Demons and was a refreshing change of script after DePaul was blown out in their last two contests.

What did we learn about this Blue Demon team in their win on Wednesday night?

Credit Where It’s Due

Since Big East Conference play started for the Blue Demons on Dec. 27, junior guard Eli Cain has had a rough go at it.

Before last night, Cain averaged 9.1 points per game on 28.6 percent from the field and dished out five assists per game to 3.3 turnovers in seven conference games this season. Thrust into a difficult point guard role after spending most of his time at DePaul as the shooting guard, Cain’s resilience with this transition finally manifested in a career game for the junior. Quote per Big East Shootaround host John Fanta.

“At his core, he’s a really good-hearted guy that wants the best for his teammates. His ability to transition into playing exclusively on the ball says so much about him.”

—Blue Demon head coach Dave Leitao

Last night, Cain poured in basket after basket, finishing with a season-high 27 points on 10-for-15 from the field and 5-for-8 from behind the 3-point line. His night culminated with this shot that turned out to be the game winner.

“I was just trying to do it for my team,” Cain told John Fanta on the Big East Shootaround show. “We ran the first play, Tre crashed, it went out of bounds. Coach drew up another play. Max set a screen, I rejected it and just made the shot.”

In the Blue Demons other Big East win against St. John’s Cain had 11 points on 4-for-10 from the field and four assists, so there’s been a correlation between Cain playing well and winning in conference play.

Cain scoring takes pressure off Max Strus and makes the Blue Demons much less one-dimensional offensively on the perimeter as Strus has been the only backcourt player who has consistently produced offensively.

Pauly Time

The silver lining behind the illness that has kept freshman Jaylen Butz sidelined for three consecutive games across ten days has been the emergence of another freshman Paul Reed.

He scored four points and collected eight rebounds in 17 minutes against Marquette on Jan. 15. Five days later, he one-upped himself with nine points and six rebounds against Butler.

In a season-high 24 minutes against Georgetown, Reed scored a season-high 11 points on 5-for-5 from the field, grabbed a season-high nine rebounds, blocked three shots and had two steals also both season highs.

Reed lengthens the Blue Demons rotation which is important on a team that has sustained injuries. After spending most of the season far back in the rotation (4.7 minutes per game prior to Butz’s sickness), the Blue Demons may have found their 2017-2018 diamond in the rough in Reed.

Adjustments

Georgetown was the first Big East opponent that DePaul has faced twice this season.

Credit to Leitao for making the necessary adjustments to flip the script on Wednesday night after Georgetown dismantled the Blue Demons at Wintrust Arena on Jan. 2.

In that game, the Hoya’s 6-foot-10-inch center Jessie Govan dominated to the tune of 25 points on 8-for-12 from the field and 12 rebounds.

On Wednesday, the Blue Demons not only kept him from putting up a big number on the scoring sheet (he finished with a season-low five points on 2-for-7 from the field), but also kept him off the boards as Govan collected just five rebounds, tied for a season low.

Perhaps most importantly, the Blue Demons defended Govan without fouling. In the Jan. 2 matchup (where graduate senior center Marin Maric and Strus fouled out and Butz ended up with four fouls), Govan went 9-for-12 from the free-throw line, whereas he shot just two free throws on Wednesday.

 

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Takeaways from DePaul’s win against Georgetown