DePaul men’s basketball dominates UIC 82-55


Myke Henry graduated from DePaul in 2016. (Olivia Jepsen / The DePaulia)

Extending their crosstown rivalry series lead to 5-1, the DePaul men’s basketball team had quite the night, beating the UIC Flames, 82-55. The Blue Demons saw four players in double digits, including seniors, Myke Henry and Rashaun Stimage.

“I told the guys before the game, I wasn’t quite sure how we were going to come out because we’ve been out for almost a week and a half, so I was a little skeptical. But I thought we had really good energy,” head coach, David Leitao said. “I thought the way she shared the basketball today on offense, the way we played collectively on defense really, really pleased me.”

DePaul took a strong lead in the first half with Henry and junior, Billy Garrett Jr. bringing the score up to 5-0. From there it was a game of turnovers, with UIC giving up a total of 12. At that time, the Blue Demons were 87.5 percent at the free throw line, ranking in huge compared to UIC’s 44.4 percent. For awhile, DePaul was able to keep the Flames at their lowest scoring up to 24-9. They continued to finish leading the first half at 41-20.

Despite still being a leading scorer for the team, Garrett Jr. was consistently seen sharing the ball more than we’re used to seeing. As opposed to last year’s matchup where the junior was responsible for the buzzard-beating three pointer, he allowed for others to make it a collective win.

“I think because he’s such a good kid, he wanted to please us and wanted to do exactly what we were trying to instruct him to do,” Leitao said. “Now I think he became a little bit more loose, more comfortable with what he’s doing out there, [so] I think he understands the offense a little bit better, he understands what we’re asking of him a whole lot better, and I think it’s showing on the basketball floor. Hopefully he’ll grow as we grow and he’ll get better and better, because he’s got so much potential.”

The simple principal of sharing is one that Leitao has clearly been able to instill within the program since his return.

“He preaches that everyday in practice, so it’s become a normal for us,” Henry said. “But we’ve got a lot of scorers on the floor, so when we’re playing together it makes the game easier for all of us and we all get rewards from it.”

By the second half, the Blue Demons were able to crank out a total of six aggressive blocks, to eventually bring their lead of 20 to more 30 points. Despite great efforts, UIC never managed to reach their way back up to the top, only able to stretch out 20-55 for total field goals. The Demons saw numerous 3-pointers from juniors, RJ Currington and Garrett Jr., for a team average 35 percent.

“Anytime you play well and you have a margin of victory that’s pleasing, you like to use it as a step forward,” Leitao said. “This is a very unforgiving game though, so we got to make sure we check ourselves at the door to make sure [we remember that] everyday is a new day. Good or bad, we can’t rest on what happened the day before.”

While this year’s matchup seemed almost too easy for the Blue Demons to snatch away, they aren’t going to let the team’s high energy go anytime soon. Catch DePaul go up against Chicago State on Saturday, December 5th at the Allstate Arena.