DePaul sweeps season series against Seton Hall with 97-93 victory

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DePaul sweeps season series against Seton Hall with 97-93 victory

Femi Olujobi poured in 16 points on 6-for-7 from the field and grabbed seven rebounds in the Blue Demons 65-50 win against Florida A&M Monday night. Richard Bodee I The DePaulia

Femi Olujobi poured in 16 points on 6-for-7 from the field and grabbed seven rebounds in the Blue Demons 65-50 win against Florida A&M Monday night. Richard Bodee I The DePaulia

Femi Olujobi poured in 16 points on 6-for-7 from the field and grabbed seven rebounds in the Blue Demons 65-50 win against Florida A&M Monday night. Richard Bodee I The DePaulia

Femi Olujobi poured in 16 points on 6-for-7 from the field and grabbed seven rebounds in the Blue Demons 65-50 win against Florida A&M Monday night. Richard Bodee I The DePaulia

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Continuing their road back to being respected in the Big East, DePaul took another step to completing that mission with a season sweep over Seton Hall on Saturday. The Blue Demons accomplished a couple milestones with a 97-93 win over the Pirates at the Prudential Center Saturday night including winning back-to-back road games for the first time since 2007 and also finished off their first sweep of a Big East opponent since the 2014-15 season when they swept the Seton Hall as well.

Coming off a disappointing a loss to Butler on Wednesday night, which halted DePaul’s two game winning streak, the Blue Demons responded early shooting over 51.6 percent in the first half. Seton Hall was even better shooting 56.7 percent as they took a 49-48 lead after finishing the half on a 7-0 run capped by a 3-pointer from Sandro Mamukelashvili with three seconds left in the half.

For DePaul it was the usual suspects leading them early on and late in the game, sophomore forward Paul Reed and senior Femi Olujobi picked up where they left off after their impressive last two games. The duo started for the third straight game and once again controlled the glass out-rebounding Seton Hall 42-19 on the night and 16-6 on the offensive glass. Those 16 offensive rebounds led to 25 second-chance points. The Pirates on the other hand finished with just eight second-chance points.

In the first half both teams looked like everything was going to go in for them, especially from three where both DePaul and Seton Hall shot over 50 percent from behind the arc and for the game. That was a mild surprise given both teams entered the contested tied for eighth in the Big East shooting just 31 percent from 3-point territory.

That didn’t seem to deter Seton Hall who put up 24 3-point shots in the game and 11 in the first half. They entered attempting just 20 threes per game.

Throughout the first half each team seemed to go on a run that made it look like they were poised to break the game open for one team. Keeping with the theme of the Big East so far, both teams responded with a run of their own that would keep the game close. At the end of the first half DePaul went on a 6-0 run that was spearheaded by senior guard Max Strus, who battled foul trouble most of the first half, but in the final six minutes came alive with 10 points on three 3-pointers that also included a four-point play.

After Seton Hall responded with a 7-0 run to take a halftime lead, it was the Blue Demons who were able to start building momentum and confidence with a 7-0 run early on in the half.

The Blue Demons also received a scare when senior guard Eli Cain went to the locker room after he was limping, but returned minutes later to finish the half. Cain finished with 13 points, while attempting six shots but was picked up by his teammates who were able to carry the load in the second half.

That included Strus, Reed and Olujobi who combined for 65 points and 21 rebounds, all three made big shots and important defensive stops late in the second half to close out the win. Reed recorded his third straight double-double and had a career high in points with 22. Olujobi also continued his hot streak in the second half where he added 12 points and finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds.

Even junior guard Lyrik Shreiner, not known for his scoring as he entered averaging just a point per game, got in on the fun when he scored five straight points in response Seton Hall’s Myles Powell knocking down multiple three-pointers during the game.

DePaul knew they had to do their best job on Powell and Quincy McKnight if they wanted to win the game, but the duo still combined for 49 points and were knocking three-pointers in the second half that kept the Pirates in the game. But the Blue Demons did just enough on those two late in the game where they could get the victory, it also helped that DePaul shot 32 free-throws and made 29 of them.

The Blue Demons will be back in action when they take on Marquette on Wednesday in Milwaukee. For now DePaul is 11-5 on the season and 3-3 in the Big East.