The Blue Demons (5-2) beat the Lamar University Cardinals (4-4) 80-61 at Allstate Arena Tuesday. The Blue Demons dominated the play and played ahead from almost start to finish.
“When we reconvene (after a loss), we can use that as a motion of growth,” coach Dave Leitao said. “We don’t have to play panicked because we’re down five, seven, nine (or) 11. (. . .) Games are going to happen a lot of different ways during the course of the year and we’ve got to be ready in all types of situations.”
Both teams had a slow start to the game. After about five minutes, both teams were shooting 20 percent from the field, DePaul was one for five and Lamar was two for 10.
Junior forward Tre’Darius McCallum finally got things started for DePaul, however, and scored a quick four points and gathered four early rebounds. McCallum ended the game with 8 points and 10 rebounds.
“Tre’s like our X factor,” sophomore guard Eli Cain said. “(. . .) When Tre’s going, he gets everyone else going. He’s high energy.”
Like, McCallum, Cain also had an impressive comeback game after Saturday’s loss to Northwestern. Cain led the team with 21 points, and he and McCallum both played for at least 30 minutes in the game.
““It felt good to get back on track,” Cain said. (. . .) If we defend the rebound, we always have a chance to win. (. . .) We didn’t want to let two games slip by. Especially (when) there’s a game coming in we knew we were supposed to win.”
The Cardinals had a chance to get into the game early but failed to convert on a number and shots and five early offensive rebound recoveries. The Cardinals finished the game 30 percent from the field, and the Blue Demons had outrebounded the Cardinals 45-30.
“Coming back from Saturday, I thought we did a much better job particularly on the defensive end,” Leitao said. “Holding anybody to 30 percent (shooting) means that it was a collective effort that followed what he had planned for (. . .) how we wanted to defend them.”
Senior guard Billy Garrett Jr. also had a solid game. Before half, he had a then team-leading 10 points and had not missed a shot. He finished the game with 15 points.
DePaul had a few slumps in the game, most notably late in the first half when the team didn’t score for almost five minutes, but they never let the Cardinals back in the game. During the second, DePaul really came alive and led by as much as 26 before Leitao gave the third unit some quality minutes and they finished 80-61.
DePaul will travel to Philadelphia to play a tough Temple team Saturday Dec. 10.