DePaul gets blown out by Creighton, 77-53


Creighton athletics

DePaul senior guard Charlie Moore dribbles the basketball against Creighton at the Chi Health Center on Wednesday.

When DePaul and Creighton met for the first time this season, the Blue Demons played a tough game but ended up losing 69-62 at Wintrust Arena.

The story was different, however, when these two teams met on Wednesday inside the Chi Health Center. Besides a good start in the first nine minutes from DePaul, the Bluejays dominated the Blue Demons on both ends, resulting in a 77-53 win for Creighton.

DePaul has now dropped 14 consecutive games against Creighton, with the last win coming on Jan. 7, 2015. 

“Aside from the fact that [Creighton is] very skilled and they base their offense on spreading the floor, making threes, you have got guys that understand each other, they understand coaching, they go through the highs and lows,” DePaul men’s basketball head coach Dave Leitao said.

The Blue Demons came into Wednesday’s game fresh off an 88-83 win over St. John’s, only DePaul’s second Big East victory of the season. Creighton, on the other hand, had an 11-day break following its last game, which was an 86-70 run over No. 5 Villanova on Feb. 13.

DePaul was able to get off to a strong start on Wednesday, especially from the 3-point line. The Blue Demons hit three consecutive 3-pointers that gave them an early 11-3 lead. A fourth 3-pointer from sophomore guard Oscar Lopez Jr. extended DePaul’s lead to seven, 16-9, in the early going. 

But that’s when things started to turn towards Creighton’s way. Following a made jump shot from senior guard Ray Salnave to put DePaul up 18-13, the Bluejays went on a 10-0 run that was sparked by their star point guard Marcus Zegarowski. 

It continued to get worse for DePaul from that point on. Sophomore forward Romeo Weems briefly stopped the bleeding with a 3-pointer, but Creighon responded with an 11-0 run that put them up 34-21 and virtually ended the Blue Demons’ hopes of winning the game. 

Salnave closed out the half by knocking down a shot to make it an 11-point deficit, but the final 10 minutes of the first half weren’t pretty for DePaul. They only made three shots and got outscored 21-7.

“We didn’t have very many possessions where we enjoyed the basketball inside the paint,” Leitao said. “At halftime, we had shot 15 threes and they had shot 17, and you are not going to match this team 3-point shot for 3-point shot. So, understanding what we were trying to do as a game plan and what we thought would work, and then not being able to execute it the way we needed to. It gave them confidence, and it kind of took some confidence away from us.”

Creighton continued its domination over DePaul to start the second half, increasing the lead to 45-25 following an 8-0 run. The Blue Demons had no answer to the Bluejays’ ball movement, shot making from behind the arc and could not register good offensive possessions. 

By the halfway point of the second half, Leitao pulled most of his starters and allowed his reserves to play the rest of the way. The lead continued to grow for Creighton, eventually grabbing a 67-37 advantage.

Freshmen Keon Edwards and David Jones got extended minutes on Wednesday, with each player scoring three points. DePaul was also without junior guard Javon Freeman-Liberty for the third straight game, and sophomore forward Nick Ongenda missed Wednesday’s game with a right ankle injury.  

Not a single DePaul player finished in double figures against Creighton, with Weems and senior guard Charlie Moore leading the team with nine points. The Blue Demons shot 35.5 percent from the field and 29.2 percent from behind the arc, while only getting to the free-throw line three times. 

DePaul returns home to face Georgetown on Saturday and Marquette next Tuesday in the final two regular season games this season. The Blue Demons are now 4-11 overall and 2-11 in the Big East.