Men’s basketball: DePaul’s offensive struggles continue in loss to No. 14 Villanova


AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson

DePaul head coach Tony Stubblefield shouts from the sideline during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Villanova, Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022, in Villanova, Pa.

DePaul suffered a brutal loss to conference rival No. 14 Villanova in Philadelphia. The team is now 10-9 overall and 1-8 in conference play. 

The Blue Demons started the game by hitting two 3-pointers between sophomore guard Jalen Terry and graduate forward Javan Johnson. DePaul trailed 8-6 at the first break.

Coming out of the break, senior forward Brandon Johnson drew the foul and hit both free throws to tie the game at 8. On the following possession, Johnson scored on an up-and-under layup to give the team the 10-8 lead. Senior forward Yor Anei followed Johnson’s footsteps with his own layup to give DePaul a 12-11 lead, solidifying their early domination in the paint. 

While the Blue Demons were thriving inside, Villanova owned the 3-point line. The Wildcats shot 66 percent from the three, making four out of its first six shots before the second break of the first half. At that point of the game, the Blue Demons were down 14-12. Javan Johnson hit a jump shot off the dribble that led to an and-1 conversion, cutting the deficit to two points.

DePaul’s offense struggled while Villanova went on a 7-0 run over the next two minutes, hitting four straight field goals that extended DePaul’s deficit to nine with eight minutes left to go in the first half. Anei scored in the paint and Javan Johnson hit a big three to cut Villanova’s lead to four with 5:45 left in the first half, but the team went on a five-minute scoring drought that included four turnovers.

Villanova went on an 11-0 run that lasted until 90 seconds before the halftime break. The Wildcats made four of their last five shots in the half and DePaul headed into the break trailing by 35-22. 

Javan Johnson led DePaul with 11 points. Brandon Johnson and Anei scored four points each, while Terry had three points. The team shot 30 percent from the field and 42 percent from the 3-point line. They also committed 7 turnovers. 

The second half was no different than the first. Terry hit the team’s first bucket of the second half, cutting the deficit to 11. Johnson followed up with a 3-point basket of his own to cut the lead to 10. DePaul slowly chipped at the lead over time, eventually drawing within six points with 12 minutes left in the half thanks to a 6-0 run that took advantage of Villanova’s cold shooting stretch.

At that moment, DePaul was only down 40-34 and senior guard Courvoisier McCauley scored inside. But from then on, DePaul struggled to score, going on a six-minute drought and Villanova pulled away for good.

The Blue Demons lost by 14 points. They shot 32 percent from the field and 33 percent from the 3 point-line. Javan Johnson led the way with 16 points while Terry finished with 10 points. 

The Blue Demons’ next game will be at home against No. 20 Connecticut on Saturday, Jan. 29 at 5:30 PM CST.