Moore, Reed ignite second-half comeback to improve DePaul’s unbeaten start


Alexa Sandler | The DePaulia

Paul Reed soars into the lane for a bucket in the first half, Reed leads the nation in double-doubles.

Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.

Yet, when 6-0 DePaul were trailing at halftime by 18 to Central Michigan, it didn’t look like they ever had a plan and they certainly took a Deontay Wilder right hook to the jaw in the first half.

The second half was completely different, while on the ropes, DePaul took it to the visitor team, scoring the first nine points of the half. They didn’t look back from there and turned an 18 point deficit into an 88-75 victory.

In the first half, Central Michigan showed how they have been the highest-scoring team in the country with four games over 100 points. The pace was controlled completely by the Chippewas as fast breaks, turnovers, and the whole atmosphere was going their way. No time was wasted from any DePaul mistakes or missed shots. Central Michigan pushed the ball up and down the court and had their way with Leitao’s squad.

The Chippewas hit at a 50 percent clip in the first half and stepped out to an 18 point lead at halftime, 50-32. Three Central Michigan players had double-figures in the first half with Rob Montgomery scoring 13 on 5-of-8 shooting. Central Michigan was 9-of-1o from the free-throw line while recording six steals to keep the pace going.

The Blue Demons didn’t have a lot to be proud of after the first half as they shot 2-for-13 from beyond the arc and had a 37 percent clip overall. Charlie Moore lead the team with 12 points and four assists.

The second half opened up kinder for the Blue Demons, who cut the Chippewa lead to nine after starting on a 13-2 run. Paul Reed had six of those points as Moore had three assists in the first three and a half minutes of the second half. They finally slowed the game down to their own time.

Moore was able to penetrate and DePaul made 7-of-8 field goals to cut the lead to five with 14:50 to go in the second half, their closest mark since early in the game. Jalen Coleman-Lands made his mark on the game with four second-half bombs to score in double figures for the third time this season.

Alexa Sandler | The DePaulia

The Blue Demons increased their run, with a Jaylen Butz and-one layup to lead make it a one-point game at 60-59. On the next trip down the floor, Paul Reed took the lead for the Blue Demons on a big-man layup. It capped off a 27-10 run that electrified the biggest crowd they’ve seen this year.

But that 27-10 run wasn’t the end of it for Central Michigan, who got a beating in the second half that not many deserve.

After that 27-10 run, the Blue Demons were able to extend their lead more to take control of the game and swing things back into their favor. They lead by 10 with 3:34 to go in the game, their largest lead of the night.

The Blue Demons would cruise to a 13 point win. The recovery from the first half wasn’t about some huge Remember the Titans speech, it was just a team that recognized what they didn’t do.

“It wasn’t a fire and brimstone halftime speech to inspire all that it was just a reality conversation about who you want to be, and that’s not us,” Leitao said.

But what did push the Blue Demons in the right direction? It was what they had been excelling at all year, or the lack thereof. The defense was the key to kicking off their comeback.

“The energy picked up in the second half and led to some defensive stops and some breaks and we got out into transition and it lead us to a comeback,” Moore said.

The hometown player has returned to Chicago this year after college years at California and Kansas.

“It feels great to be back home,” Moore said. “I was born and raised [in Chicago], I get to see my family more often and the support here is great, you just enjoy every moment of it.”

Reed notched his sixth double-double of the season, which leads the entire country, not to mention his two steals and four blocks

Jaylen Butz added his own double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Charlie Moore finished with 18 points and 13 assists.

Although Jalen Coleman-Lands was one of the major stories of the night. The senior had his best game in a Blue Demon uniform scoring 21 points on six second-half three-pointers.

“It really is just confidence shooting,” Coleman-Lands said. “So, after the first one, how it feels is clear. It’s repetition, shooters shoot.”

The Blue Demons will travel to face Minnesota on Friday at 2 p.m. The game can be seen on FS1.