Miserable shooting night dooms DePaul against Marquette


Tre'Darius McCallum received a technical after slamming the ball into the court in an outburst of frustration Monday night at Marquette. (Konrad Markowski)

A Monday evening date with the worst defense in the Big East by opponent field goal percentage (47.8 percent) and points allowed (77 per game) could have been an opportunity for the Blue Demon offense to get in sync.

But did they? After mishandling a low pass with 2:33 remaining in the first half, Blue Demon senior forward Tre’Darius McCallum slammed the ball to the floor in frustration, propelling it twenty feet in the air. He was promptly hit with a technical foul and Marquette Golden Eagle redshirt senior Andrew Rowsey hit two free throws to extend the lead out to 34-17. That play should give an idea of how the Blue Demon’s night went offensively.

The Marquette Golden Eagles (13-6; 4-3 Big East) routed the DePaul Blue Demons (8-10; 1-5 Big East) 70-52 at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in a game that was largely uncompetitive outside of the first ten minutes.

“All of the above,” DePaul Blue Demon head coach Dave Leitao said when asked what ailed his team offensively tonight. “(Missing) point blank shots, talking, rebounding, and all aspects. Offensively and defensively it was as poor as we’ve played in a long time, maybe all season.”

The Blue Demons went over eight minutes without a field goal at the end of the first half which included a 10-0 run that allowed Marquette to extend the lead to 31-15 with 3:35 left in the half and roll into halftime with a comfortable 41-21 lead.

The Blue Demons finished the game with their fewest points since a PK80 Invitational tournament game against Michigan State in November (51) and shot the ball 30 percent from the field  (worst of the season behind the Michigan State game when they shot 25.5 percent). Tonight, they had 13 assists on 20 made field goals and turned the ball over 17 times.

“As the saying goes, jump shots some days they go, some days they don’t,” Leitao said. “The more you work on them, the more you hope they go down.”

In the first half, the Blue Demons shot 18 percent from the field, missed all four of the 3-point field goals they attempted, and dished out ten turnovers to just three assists. Sophomore Brandon Cyrus had six points on 1-for-4 from the field, but was aggressive in the half earning four free throws after averaging 1.9 free-throw attempts per game. He finished the game with a team-high 15 points.

“I thought I played all right, but I wanted to win,” Cyrus said. “(I) need to be more aggressive and try to get my teammates the ball.”

The Blue Demons 756-game streak with a made 3-point field goal was in jeopardy when the Blue Demons missed their first 11 from this range. With 2:29 remaining in the second half, junior Max Strus sunk one from long range to keep the streak alive, although the Blue Demons shot just 2-for-12 from this range during the game (worst 3-point shooting percentage of the season).

On a night where very little came easily offensively, the Blue Demons struggled to even convert the good looks. At the 14:22 mark in the first half, the Blue Demons had four shot opportunities in one possession, three point blank and couldn’t convert. Early in the game, graduate senior center Marin Maric took too many steps in preparation for an uncontested transition dunk and the referee called him for a traveling violation.

Cyrus and junior Eli Cain couldn’t take advantage of their serious size advantage against the Marquette guards who were both under six feet tall. Marquette big men outplayed the normally steady Maric who finished with six points, eight rebounds, and five turnovers. After going 3-for-13 from the field with eight points against Providence on Friday, Strus had another rough night finishing the game with ten points on 3-for-12 from the field.

“We were just really stagnant on offense,” Cyrus said. “We weren’t moving the ball. We usually get downhill, create passing lanes for everybody and not just worry about our own shots. Just be less selfish and move the ball more.”

The Blue Demons will look to put this game behind them as they prepare for a 1 p.m. bout with the Butler Bulldogs on Saturday at Wintrust Arena.