DePaul fails to hold on against Georgetown, loses 76-72 for 10th Big East loss of the season

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Alexa Sandler | The DePaulia

DePaul head coach Dave Leitao looks down during the Blue Demons' 79-66 loss to St. John's on Saturday at Wintrust Arena.

DePaul went into its 11th conference game of the season taking on Georgetown on Saturday at the Capital One Arena. The Blue Demons, who came into the game in last place in the Big East, had their best chance of picking up their second conference win this season against a Hoyas team that were missing multiple players.

Instead, the Blue Demons choked down the stretch, like they have throughout this Big East season, and ended up losing 76-72 to fall to 13-11 on the season and 1-10 in league play. DePaul controlled the entire first half and the first 10 minutes of the second half, but they failed to make crucial plays in the final few minutes against Georgetown. 

Georgetown, who entered Saturday’s game with a 13-10 overall record and 3-7 in the Big East, was without their leading scorer Mac McClung for the third straight game. The Hoyas also lost four players in December, leaving them with a short rotation for their game against DePaul. 

With the Blue Demons having more bodies available for this game, they came out of the gates attacking the Hoyas and clicking on all cylinders on offense. DePaul jumped out to an early 4-0 lead before Georgeotwn responded with two straight baskets. But the Blue Demons kept their hot start going by knocking down four straight shots to take a 14-6 lead. 

Freshman Romeo Weems hit a couple of 3-pointers in the first half, including one to give the Blue Demos back the momentum when the Hoyas cut their lead to six, 16-10. Freshman Oscar Lopez Jr., who had only scored one point this season, came off the bench and hit two consecutive shots to put the Blue Demons up 23-12 with under-10 minutes to play in the first half. 

The Hoyas relied heavily on Omer Yurtseven and Jahvon Blair in the first half, with the duo scoring 24 of the team’s 32 points. Georgetown struggled to build consecutive cohesive offensive possessions in the first half, but a Blair 3-pointer to end the half cut the deficit to only six points, 38-32. 

In the first half, the Blue Demons did not attempt a single free throw but knocked down 17 shots and four 3-pointers to take a six-point lead. Also, six players scored for DePaul in the first 20 minutes, with senior Jalen Coleman-Lands leading the visitors with nine points. 

The Blue Demons began the second half with a layup from junior guard Charlie Moore, who finished the game with 14 points and nine assists. But the Hoyas were able to find their groove on offense in the first five minutes, hitting five of their first six shots and cutting DePaul’s lead to 48-44. 

The Blue Demons maintained a lead in the following minutes, even taking a 55-46 lead with 13:32 to play in the game after a 3-pointer by Coleman-Lands. Georgetown, however, responded with an 8-0 run by playing through Yurtseven and Blair. 

DePaul stopped the bleeding for a second with a dunk from Weems to put his team up 57-53, but the Hoyas tallied off four straight points to tie the game for the first time since the first half. 

While Patrick Ewing’s team was able to climb back into the game, his team received more bad luck when Yurtseven went down with an ankle injury — he would not return to the game. 

The two teams would trade baskets the next two minutes, with the game tied at 61 with 5:16 to play. But it was the Hoyas who grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck, taking the lead and leaving the Blue Demons in the dust. 

DePaul would only make two more field goals in the final five minutes; while Georgeotwn stayed aggressive, getting to the free-throw line and hitting timely shots to keep the Blue Demons at bay. 

Coleman-Lands had a chance to tie the game at 70 with 34 seconds to play, but he came up short on his attempt. Georgetown would hold on in the final minute by hitting a layup and knocking down four free throws.

All five DePaul starters finished in double-figures, with Coleman-Lands finishing the game with 17 points 6-of-14 shooting. Junior forward Paul Reed recorded his 15th double-double of the season with 12 points and 13 rebounds. The Blue Demons, who are the worst free throw shooting team in the Big East, went 11-of-15 from the charity stripe in the second half. 

DePaul is off for a week before traveling to Omaha, Neb. to face No. 21 Creighton.