Georgetown uses second half run to pull away from DePaul


Alexa Sandler/The DePaulia

DePaul junior forward Pauly Paulicap goes for a loose ball during a game against Georgetown on Saturday at Wintrust Arena.

When the Big East released its annual coaches’ poll before the start of the 2020-21 season, DePaul was picked to finish in 10th place, one spot ahead of Georgetown.

Well, there is a reason they play games to find out if those predictions are correct or not. In terms of who will finish in last place, DePaul already secured that spot following its 77-53 loss to Creighton on Wednesday.

But in terms of how far DePaul and Georgetown are actually separated by their play on the court, that was solved when the two teams met on Saturday at Wintrust Arena. The Hoyas showed that there is a much bigger gap between the two teams than the predictions showed, with Georgetown winning 68-60.

“We got a small enough margin that we have to live in in order to maximize ourselves, and when you don’t live in that margin, you find yourself, as we did today, kind of playing from behind,” DePaul men’s basketball coach Dave Leitao said.

It was exactly the cleanest offensive game that the Big East has seen all season, with both teams combing for 32 turnovers. But the Hoyas were able to break away from the Blue Demons to start the second half.

Following a made 3-pointer from senior guard Charlie Moore to start the second half that cut Georgetown’s lead to one, 30-29, the Hoyas went on an 18-0 run that put them up 19 and gave DePaul no chance of coming back.

The Blue Demons’ offense spiraled out of control during that stretch, missing seven shots and committing four turnovers. The offensive issues that have hurt DePaul all season long came back to bite them in the second half. A lack of floor spacing, passes missing their intended target and poor shot selection all played a role in DePaul’s loss on Saturday.

For Georgetown, on the other hand, the play of its defense helped spark the 18-0 run. By getting out in transition, they were able to space the floor and knock down 3-pointers. During that large run in the second half, the Hoyas hit three consecutive 3-pointers, all coming courtesy of Jamorko Pickett.

Hall defends a Georgetown player Saturday at Wintrust Arena. (Alexa Sandler/The DePaulia)

Besides the scoring from Moore, who finished the game with 22 points, DePaul struggled to find a second and third option to keep the offense rolling when Moore wasn’t shooting. Senior guard Ray Salnave was the team’s second leading scorer on Saturday, finishing with 11 points on 2-of-8 shooting. 

“The effort wasn’t there today,” Moore said. “We didn’t have the best defensive effort in order to stop them from scoring.”

Salnave and Moored helped DePaul respond with a 10-0 run that cut the Hoyas’ lead to nine. But Georgetown was able to re-group following a timeout from head coach Patrick Ewing. The Hoyas made sure to maintain their lead whenever it seemed like DePaul was making a run. 

Moore and Salnave scored the Blue Demons’ last 11 points as they looked to spark a late-game run, but there wasn’t enough momentum for DePaul to get back into the game. 

Following the theme of inconsistent shooting, both teams started the game by missing the first six shots. It wasn’t until past the three-minute mark when DePaul junior forward Darious Hall knocked down the game’s first shot. Combine that with a pair of free throws from Pauly Paulicap, DePaul had itself a 4-0 lead.

But the Hoyas were able to find their groove with three consecutive 3-pointers to put them up 9-4. Both teams traded runs in the first half, but it was Georgetown who held a lead throughout most of the half. 

Georgetown’s Chudier Bile made six consecutive free throws to put his team up 28-18 with 2:46 to play in the first half. But five points from Moore and a 3-pointer from freshman guard Kobe Elvis made it a four-point game, 30-26, heading into the break.

DePaul drops to 4-12 overall and 2-12 in the Big East. The Blue Demons will close out the regular season by hosting Marquette on Tuesday.