DePaul defeats Alcorn State 74-52 in season opener

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DePaul defeats Alcorn State 74-52 in season opener

DePaul freshman guard Markese Jacobs attempts a 3-point shot against Alcorn State Tuesday night at Wintrust Arena.

DePaul freshman guard Markese Jacobs attempts a 3-point shot against Alcorn State Tuesday night at Wintrust Arena.

Alexa Sandler

DePaul freshman guard Markese Jacobs attempts a 3-point shot against Alcorn State Tuesday night at Wintrust Arena.

Alexa Sandler

Alexa Sandler

DePaul freshman guard Markese Jacobs attempts a 3-point shot against Alcorn State Tuesday night at Wintrust Arena.

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A new-look DePaul team had no issues of handling Alcorn State in their first game of the season, the Blue Demons took down the Braves 72-54 Tuesday night at Wintrust Arena.

With questions entering the season opener on how DePaul would perform with a revamped squad, the Blue Demons put some of those questions to bed for one night with a dominating performance against Alcorn State. 

Unlike in their exhibition game on Oct. 29, DePaul got off to a hot start to begin the game. The Blue Demons started the game on a 17-0 run before the visitors would record their first points of the game. DePaul’s energy and intensity early on in the game forced Alcorn State into turnovers, which helped lead to fast-break opportunities down the other end. 

Junior guard Charlie Moore, who was the starting point guard Tuesday night, was the catalyst behind the teams 17-0 run to start the game. Moore had six points and three assists in the first few minutes of the game, which helped to set the tone for the Blue Demons the rest of the match. 

“The type of basketball we want to play this year is we want to defend, we want to be very detailed defensively on our schemes, want to rebound, want to make free-throws and want to take care of the ball,” interim head coach Tim Anderson said after the game. “So, a little bit when it was last year we had more of an offensive focus, I don’t know if we have Max, Eli or Femi walking through that door, so we have to change it up a little bit and be more defensive-minded…”

Anderson, who was making his college head coaching debut with Dave Leitao serving a three-game suspension, also mentioned that he wasn’t happy to see his team get outrebounded and take fewer free-throw attempts than Alcorn State. The Braves outrebounded the Blue Demons 43-39 and took one more free-throw than the home team.

The rest of the first half saw the Blue Demons stay in complete control of the game. While Alcorn State managed to get within 10 points of DePaul at one point, 29-19, the Blue Demons quickly responded with a 12-2 run to balloon their lead back to 20 points. During that run, freshman Romeo Weems contributed to seven of the 12 points. Weems finished the game with 13 points and three rebounds in his DePaul debut. 

“I think I got a lot to work on still,” Weems said. “I think I played well, it was more of a defensive game for me, stopped the best players, it’s going to be a lot of those. So, I think I just played well, brought the energy for my team, my guys kept their heads up.”

After a dominating first half from Weems and his team, the Blue Demons went into the break up 45-26 while shooting over 60 percent from the field and behind the arc. The second half, however, wasn’t as dominant for the Blue Demons from an offensive perspective. 

After scoring 45 points in the first, the Blue Demons only managed to get 27 points in the final 20 minutes of the game. The team only shot 35.7 percent from the field and only made one 3-pointer in the second half.

Alexa Sandler
DePaul junior forward Paul Reed goes up for a layup against Alcorn State. The Blue Demons won the game 72-54.

“First half we came out with a lot of energy, the guys were excited to come out and play the first game,” Moore said. “Second half we got a little lackadsackle, their energy went down and we talked about that as a team with the coaching staff in the locker room. We gotta keep that same energy we had in the first half in order for us to be a great team.”

While the offense struggled in the second half, the defense made sure to keep the Braves at bay all night long. The Blue Demons recorded five blocks and had 11 steals throughout the night to help stymie the Braves’ attack. 

One player who didn’t have any off moments in the opening game was junior forward Paul Reed. Reed went a perfect 6-for-6 from the field to give him 17 points to go along with 11 rebounds. 

The Blue Demons will be back in action Wednesday night when they host Division III University of Chicago at Wintrust Arena.