DePaul loses conference opener 74-66 against Seton Hall


Xavier Ortega | The DePaulia

Seton Hall’s Myles Powell drives to the basket in the second half against DePaul. The Blue Demons lost the game 74-66

Coming off a near-perfect nonconference slate of games, where DePaul went 12-1, the Blue Demons looked to open Big East play with a victory against Seton Hall. But senior guard Myles Powell, like most games, ended up stealing the victory for the Pirates near the end of the game, giving his team a 74-66 victory at Wintrust Arena. 

With just under three minutes to play in the game, junior guard Charlie Moore hit two free-throws to give the Blue Demons a 66-65 lead. But that’s when Powell stole the show and the game for Seton Hall. The next possession for the Pirates, freshman forward Romeo Weems fouled Powell behind the arc, sending the senior to the free-throw line for three shots. 

Powell, who is a 78 percent free-throw shooter, knocked down all three shots — giving his team a 68-66 lead with 2:18 to play in the game. The Blue Demons, however, couldn’t respond after senior guard Jalen Coleman-Lands missed a 3-point shot. The Pirates got an easy dunk the next time down the floor, giving them a 70-66 lead with 1:44 to play in the game. 

DePaul failed to respond in the closing minutes, as they didn’t make a shot from the field in the last four minutes and allowed the Pirates to close the game on a 9-0 run. 

“With this league with all 10 teams being high level teams as it stands right now, is going to come down to late game execution,” head coach Dave Leitao said. “And we got to get better at that, and we weren’t really good at that. They gave us something that we hadn’t seen all year, which was starting in zone and then change to a man [defense].” 

While DePaul was going on their cold streak in the final four minutes, Powell scored 10 of the Pirates’ final 14 points to give them their first conference win of the season. Powell, who came into Monday night’s game questionable with a concussion, finished the game with 27 points on 7-of-15 shooting and 11-of-15 from the free-throw line. 

“I’ve been preparing our team as best as we can for moments like this because it’s going to continue, it’s not like this is an anomaly,” Leitao said. “We’ve got to be able to get baskets, quality shots when we need to at the end of games.” 

For just about 36 minutes of the game, DePaul had control of the game as they led for nearly 30 minutes of the game. The Blue Demons did a stout job on the defensive end by closing out on shooters, limiting the Pirates to only 35 percent shooting from the 3-point line. But the visitors were able to get to the free-throw line, especially late in the game, as they hit 21-of-30 free-throws. 

“We basically kept them in the game by fouling, and we realized that too late,” Coleman-Lands said. “So, just not putting other teams in situations where it is in their control, or it was up to them to make free-throws. So, we played decent defense as far as closing out, but we have to do a better job of not fouling from this game and carry it over to the next game.”

Through their defense, DePaul forced 11 turnovers in the first half, but only got six points off of them. Throughout the entire first half, the Blue Demons were able to keep the Pirates at bay for the most part which allowed DePaul to get a 37-31 lead at halftime. 

Even with junior forward Paul Reed only playing 12 minutes in the first half due to foul trouble, he still led the Blue Demons in scoring with nine points at the break. But seven other players also got in the scoring column for DePaul when Reed was struggling with foul trouble. 

For Seton Hall, however, 19 of their 31 first half points came from Powell and Jared Rhoden. But at the start of the second half, the rest of the team started to heat up from the field. After Powell, scored five straight points to begin the half, Myles Cale and Tyrese Samuel responded with 12 straight points for the Pirates to give them a 48-45 lead with 14 minutes left in the game. 

With the Blue Demons trailing 50-49 with 13 minutes to play, DePaul went on a 6-0 run to take 55-50 lead. After DePaul got the ball back still up 55-50, Moore had turned over the ball back to the Pirates, allowing Powell to get an easy layup. 

Both teams would trade baskets from the 11-minute mark to the two-minute mark, and that’s when the Blue Demons went cold from the field — while the Powell and the Pirates took over the game in the closing minutes. Reed led DePaul in scoring with 17 points while also grabbing nine rebounds. Moore had another rough shooting night, going 4-of-15 from the field and 1-of-7 from the 3-point line for 13 points.

“So, we will grow from [the loss], we will learn from it, we will come back Saturday and try to correct ourselves and be in a better position against Providence,” Leitao said. 

With the loss, DePaul drops to 12-2 on the season and 0-1 in conference play. The Blue Demons will be back in action on Saturday when they host Providence at Wintrust Arena.