DePaul men’s basketball started hot, jumping out to an 11-0 lead before relinquishing it as they struggled to keep up with Creighton. Even with the head start, the same story for DePaul (6-12, 0-6 Big East) compounded into a sixth straight loss in their 91-80 defeat to the Blue Jays (13-6, 4-2).
“We were not executing on offense,” senior forward Myke Henry said. “When we don’t execute our plays, that happens. It’s DePaul beating DePaul.”
Henry, along with freshman guard Eli Cain, led the Blue Demons with 21 points a piece. Junior guard Isaiah Zierden from Creighton led the game the 31 points, 24 of those coming on three-pointers.
It was the Blue Demons who looked like they would dominate from three to start the game, however. They opened up the game with three straight three-pointers, with another bucket from Rashaun Stimage for emphasis, to jump out to a 11-0 lead at the under-16 timeout.
Then the familiar story started to come into play. The Jays got on the board immediately following the timeout and started to climb back in. They went on an 8-0 run to toe the game at 18-18 before taking the lead two possessions later on a three.
DePaul and Creighton traded the lead until there was just over four minutes to go in the half. Junior forward Tommy Hamilton was given a technical foul for slamming the ball on the floor after committing a foul. Creighton used that technical to go on an 8-0 run and gave themselves some breathing room with a 43-36 lead.
Creighton led 47-41 at the half as the Blue Demons tried to make adjustments.
“It’s not the number of three-pointers that hurt us,” head coach Dave Leitao said. “It’s more the amount of comfort the other team has shooting threes against us.”
The Blue Jays ended up scoring 39 points from beyond the arc, a useful tool for the visitors as they were able to hold off DePaul in the second half.
The second half started well for DePaul as they tied it up at 50-50 before two Creighton threes put the game squarely back in the Jays’ favor. From there it was a game of DePaul trying to play catchup as the Jays pulled away with dominating inside play and a proficiency from beyond the arc, capitalizing on DePaul mistakes and not allowing them to gain a foothold, which would prove to be why they won.
“Each game, it’s something,” Leitao said. “Today it was transition defense and loose-ball turnovers.”
The Blue Demons tried to close the gap, getting as close as trailing 78-75, but another run by the Jays to end the game put that dream to bed. The Blue Demons had committed 18 turnovers during the game, which led to 25 points for the Blue Jays. The final score was 91-80 Creighton, which gave DePaul its sixth straight loss as they were competitive in conference play, but not enough to get over the hump.