Slow start, cold shooting gives DePaul 66-55 loss to Duquesne on road


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Junior guard K.T. Raimey defends a drive by Duquesne freshman Kareem Rozier in DePaul’s loss Wednesday.

PITTSBURGH – DePaul’s offensive struggles continued in Pittsburgh Wednesday night, suffering a 66-55 loss on the road to Duquesne. The Blue Demons fought back in the second half, but couldn’t overcome another slow start at the beginning of the game, a new norm for the team.

“You’re not gonna win very many basketball games when you get out rebounded by 16,”  head coach Tony Stubblefield said. “Defensively, I thought we struggled at times, but overall we held over 39% from two and 28% from three, but when you give up as many offensive rebounds as we did tonight, you’re going to struggle. You get beat 34 to 12 in the paint, you’re not giving yourself a chance.”

DePaul struggled offensively in the first half shooting 28% from the field and 3-for-12 from beyond the arc, while recording only one offensive rebound. The Blue Demons trailed 34-21 heading into halftime.

“We’re digging ourselves too big of a hole,” Stubblefield said.  “You can’t do that and we’ve got to start games better.  It’s something we haven’t addressed for two weeks, maybe three now and we’ve got to get the ball moving.  We’ve got to be able to get stops defensively.” 

One of the few bright spots of the first half was graduate student Javan Johnson, scoring 10 points and connecting with two three-pointers. Johnson finished the game strong as he’s done consistently lately, scoring 19 points, two rebounds and three blocks.

Outside of Johnson, the offense was stagnant from start to finish and three out of the five starters on Wednesday night scored a combined three points. Graduate guard Umoja Gibson scored just three, while freshmen Zion Cruz and seniorPhilmon Gebrewhit both finished with zero.

“You’re not going to make shots night in and night out,” Stubblefield said. “You can’t let that be put upon your success and if shots aren’t going down, you got to be able to go to the glass and get rebounds. You still got to be able to defend it and to be able to help the team in any way you can that night.”

The second half was an improvement for DePaul, as they outscored Duquesne 34-32, but unfortunately it was too little too late. The Blue Demons second half improvement offensively was led by their bench, one of the few positives from Wednesday’s game.

DePaul had three players come off the bench  including freshman Ahmad Bynum, juniors K.T. Raimey and Da’Sean Nelson combining for 21 of the Blue Demons 55 points. Raimey played well in limited action, recording seven points, two rebounds and two assists in only 16 minutes.

“I thought he did some good things,” Stubblefield said on Raimey’s performance. “I thought he was aggressive and brought energy defensively and he hasn’t had a whole lot of opportunity up to this point. I think he did well with the opportunity given.”

The biggest takeaway from the game was Duquesne out-rebounding DePaul, 48-32 as both Nick Ongenda and Yor Anei’s size were clearly missed during Wednesday’s 66-55 loss. 

“When you give up as many offensive rebounds as we did tonight, you’re going to struggle,” Stubblefield said.  “We’re missing some pieces inside, but we’ve got to do a better job. That’s no excuse and guys have got to step up and guards have to rebound more. We have to be more connected and more committed to doing it.” 

Duquesne guard Dae Dae Grant shot 3-of-9 from deep, giving DePaul problems offensively throughout the game, finishing with 15 points and five rebounds. Duquesne shot nearly 40% from the field and had three players score double digit points.

Four players didn’t dress for DePaul due to injury, including Nick Ongenda (hand), Mo Sall (wrist), Yor Anei (foot) and surprisingly Jalen Terry (knee). Terry is considered day-to-day following a non-structural knee injury that occurred earlier this week in practice.

“He’s got a bruised knee,” Stubblefield said about Terry’s injury. “He’s been tested and he knows it’s nothing structurally. So it’s just a matter of, you know, the swelling going down and him being able to get back out there.”

DePaul (6-5, 0-1) will travel to Northwestern (7-2, 1-0) on Saturday, with tip-off scheduled at Welsh Ryan Arena scheduled for 1:00 p.m. CST. The game will be broadcasted on the Big Ten Network.