Men’s basketball: DePaul defeats Coppin State to begin regular season

DePaul+senior+guard+Javon+Freeman-Liberty+dribbles+the+ball+up+during+Wednesdays+win+over+Coppin+State+at+Wintrust+Arena.

Maddy Maes/The DePaulia

DePaul senior guard Javon Freeman-Liberty dribbles the ball up during Wednesday’s win over Coppin State at Wintrust Arena.

The DePaul men’s basketball team tipped off the season against Coppin State University at Wintrust Arena on Wednesday. And while the Blue Demons struggled in the first half, the team flew through the second half and defeated Coppin State 97-72. 

Forward David Jones finished the game with 23 points and 17 rebounds, while guard Javon Freeman-Liberty concluded with 25 games. 

Coppin State was coming off their season opener the night before that ended in a 103-45 loss to Loyola University Chicago.

The game was tight at the beginning, and both teams were playing aggressively. However, the Blue Demons began to pull ahead early in the first half. 

A dunk by center Nick Ongenda gave DePaul’s its first lead of the game, and guard Tyon Grant-Foster added to the lead with a layup.

DePaul sophomore forward David Jones goes up for a layup on Wednesday. (Maddy Maes/The DePaulia)

 

However, Coppin State began to close in on the Blue Demons as the first half continued, and suddenly the Blue Demons found themselves trailing as the first half wrapped up. However, a 3-pointer by Grant-Foster put the Blue Demons ahead 41-40 right before the buzzer sounded. 

The Blue Demons were strong on their defense during the first half, and finished the half with 24 rebounds, while Coppin State had 12. 

Jones finished the half with 13 points and eight rebounds, while Grant-Foster had nine points. 

Over halftime, Grant-Foster was taken to the hospital, but he is stable, per head coach Tony Stubblefield.

There was a noticeable shift in the Blue Demons as they re-entered the court for the second half. 

While Coppin State put up a fight in the beginning, DePaul pulled ahead early. A 3-pointer by guard Philmon Gebrewhit set the team seven points ahead of Coppin State, and put the Blue Demons on a seven-point streak.

“I was really proud of our guys, the way they moved the basketball, the way they came out and played harder in the second half, played together,” Stubblefield said. “They really put a good half of basketball together in 20 minutes.”

Hard work and baskets by Freeman-Liberty and Jones gave the Blue Demons the push they needed to take control of the game. 

“Coach always talk[s] about play[ing] hard, be[ing] aggressive all the time, get[ting] rebounds, so I just went out there, played hard, gave it my best,” Jones said. 

The Blue Demons finished the game with 50 rebounds, 30 more than Coppin State. That is something that head coach Tony Stubblefield wants to see more of from his team going forward in the season. 

“Our guys did a better job of being more physical, blocking out and going to get the ball,” Stubblefield said. “And that’s something that we have to do on a regular basis.”

The Blue Demons take on Central Michigan at Wintrust on Saturday before facing Rutgers at home on Nov. 18.