DePaul gives up 18 3-pointers against Villanova to lose 91-71


Alexa Sandler | The DePaulia

DePaul head coach Dave Leitao heads back to the locker room with his team down 46-26 at the break against Villanova Wednesday night at Wintrust Arena.

DePaul jumped out to an early 3-1 lead in the first half against No. 12 Villanova on Wednesday at Wintrust Arena. But the Wildcats responded by going on a 90-68 run to close out the final 38 minutes, winning the game 91-71 and giving the Blue Demons their eighth straight loss. 

Besides an early lead to start the game, DePaul got outplayed during the rest of the game against a Villanova team that hit 18 3-pointers on the night. The 3-point barrage started in the third minute, with the Wildcats scoring their next 12 points from behind the arc.

“We shot the ball great [tonight],” Villanova head coach Jay Wright said. “We run into some teams that have done that to us, and when someone is shooting the ball like that it’s hard for the opponent to do anything. … We just did a really good job of sharing the ball and knocking down threes.”

DePaul, on the other hand, did not make another 3-pointer in the first half after senior guard Jalen Coleman-Lands knocked one down to start the game. The Blue Demons’ approach, however, was to attack Villanova inside because of the size advantage DePaul had in this matchup. 10 of DePaul’s first 14 points came inside the paint, with Coleman-Lands pacing the team with seven points in the first nine minutes. 

But the Wildcats’ high-powered 3-point shooting allowed them to start building a sizable lead in the middle of the first half. By the 10-minute mark, Villanova had already knocked down six 3-pointers and held a 23-14 advantage. 

After Villanova took a 29-15 lead with 8:41 to play in the first half, the Blue demons responded by going on a 9-2 run to cut the deficit to seven. DePaul was able to attack the visitors inside, with junior guard Charlie Moore — who finished the game with eight points on 2-of-10 shooting — getting to the free-throw line and juniors Jaylen Butz and Paul Reed exchanging finishes at the rim. 

Villanova and DePaul would end up trading baskets the next couple of minutes down the floor, with the game standing at 36-26 with less than three minutes left in the half. That’s when Villanova took the game by the scruff of the neck and obliterated the Blue Demons in the last two minutes of the first half. 

The Wildcats closed the half on a 10-0 run thanks to two 3-pointers by Collin Gillespie and Saddiq Bey, giving Villanova a 46-26 lead at the break. DePaul had no response down the stretch of the first half, and Leitao was called for a technical during that 10-0 run after he was clapping at the refs for giving his team a charging call. This was the second game in a row where DePaul played 11 guys in the first half, and still trailed by double-figures going into the break.

“It was a combination of not communicating and hustling in transition defensively,” DePaul head coach Dave Leitao said. “The two different defenses we were playing, they got to the middle of the floor off simple ball-screens and were able to spread around and get open shots as a result. 

Like Leitao mentioned, the Wildcats did a good job of moving the ball and had 22 assists on the 33 made field-goals for the game.

Alexa Sandler | The DePaulia
DePaul junior guard Charlie Moore attempts to drive to the basket in the first half against Villanova. Moore finished the game with eight points on 2-of-10 shooting.

Villanova went 10-of-13 from behind the arc in the first half, while the Blue Demons only went 1-of-2 from the 3-point line. The same story played out in the second half. 

“The thing about Villanova is, they are probably the best team that I’ve been around at precision,” Leitao said. “They don’t, robotic is not the right word, but there is something they know and it has created really, really good habits. …”

Villanova and DePaul would trade baskets to open the next half, but the Wildcats would be able to build their lead because of strong defense and getting out in transition to hit open 3-pointers. By the 11-minute mark, Villanova built up a 69-43 lead after Justin Moore and Cole Swider knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers. 

The Wildcats’ lead would eventually reach 31 points, 77-46, with just over eight minutes to play in the game — which is when DePaul fans began leaving the stadium. With the game starting to look out of reach for Leitao, he began to play some of his bench players — including sophomore guard Flynn Cameron. In seven minutes of action, Cameron scored seven points on 3-of-4 shooting. 

Even though the Wildcats were able to hit 18-of-26 from behind the arc Wednesday night, Wright also pointed to his team’s rebounding advantage, 35-28, as to why his team was so successful against DePaul. 

“Rebounding,” Wright said. “We got hammered on the glass in the last game, and I thought Dhamir [Crosby-Roundtree] was a big difference rebounding the ball. That was the difference.” 

Villanova would end up shooting 56.9 percent from the field, while the home team went 28-of-59 from the field and 4-of-12 from the 3-point line. Coleman-Lands finished the game with 17 points on 7-of-15 shooting, while junior forward Paul Reed scored 13 and grabbed seven rebounds. 

DePaul finished the game with 42 points in the paint, and only 10 turnovers against the Wildcats. But the difference in 3-point shooting, 18-4, put the Blue Demons in an early hole and they were never able to climb out of it as a result. 

DePaul now sits at 13-13 for the season after starting the year going 12-1, and 1-12 in the Big East. The Blue Demons will be back in action on Saturday when Georgetown visits Wintrust Arena for an 8 p.m. start.