Late-game mistake costs DePaul in 71-67 loss to Seton Hall


Jack Dombro

Graduate guard Umoja Gibson tries to avoid two Seton Hall defenders in DePaul’s loss to the Pirates at Wintrust Arena on Saturday.

DePaul went toe-to-toe with a tough Seton Hall squad on Saturday, but came out on the losing end after being bested, 71-67. The final minutes of the game were chaotic, and a late mistake by senior guard Philmon Gebrewhit cost DePaul an opportunity to tie up the game in the final seconds.

“We knew going into this game, the key to winning was on the defensive end and rebounding the basketball,” said head coach Tony Stubblefield. “They’re strong and we knew… we didn’t match their physicality… When you don’t, you lose a game you shouldn’t have.”

The Blue Demons fall to 8-10 on the season and 2-5 in Big East play.

Junior forward Da’Sean Nelson’s offense has provided a spark for the Blue Demons as of late, and doesn’t appear to be slowing down. He finished the game recording 15 points, three rebounds and two assists, while shooting 6-of-8 from the field.

Nelson recorded 13 first-half points, but was nearly non-existent in the second half. Graduate center Yor Anei and graduate forward Eral Penn played in the front court for a majority of the second half.

DePaul held their own from the opening tip-off against Seton Hall, and for the first time this year, have started to show more consistently on the court along with finally finding an identity as a team that isn’t to be taken lightly. 

Early on, the game quickly began to be defined by three-point shooting and runs. The Pirates shot 57% from three, compared to the Blue Demons’ 46%, and each team had a run of its own that either brought them back into the game or helped them pull away.

Early on in the first half, Seton Hall had a 8-0 run followed up by DePaul 7-0 run of their own to bring the Blue Demons back into the game.

Seton Hall scored 24 of their 39 first half points in the paint, while DePaul tallied just 14. Yor Anei struggled down low against the Pirates athletic bigs. Anei still may not be 100% since returning from a foot injury that sidelined him for multiple games.

Saturday was the first game this season that DePaul entered halftime tied with their opponent. At the break, the score was 39-39.

The second half of the game, similar to the first half, was a lot of back and forth between the two teams. When it mattered most, the Pirates stepped up when needed. Seton Hall went on a 7-0 run, and during that stretch, DePaul missed six of its seven shots.

Graduate forward Javan Johnson had one of his worst games of the season, finishing with 10-points. Johnson shot 2-for-13 from the field and 2-of-10 from beyond the arc with a plus minus of -7.

The final minute of the game was tumultuous as it started with Gebrewhit connecting on a corner three, followed with a three by Johnson to bring the game within one. Seconds later, Johnson recovered a loose ball and got a defensive stop with 14 seconds left, but as he tried calling a timeout, the officials ruled a jump ball, with possession favoring Seton Hall.

With 10 seconds left, Seton Hall missed a free throw that would have put the Pirates up four points, but the rebound slipped right through Gebrewhit’s hands with no one around him. Seton Hall was able to recover the rebound which forced DePaul to foul and ultimately end the game. 

Wintrust Arena went silent, as DePaul fans knew that the game was likely over and Gebrewhit’s late-game mistake may have cost them a chance at overtime.

DePaul (8-10, 2-5) will continue their homestand when they host No. 12 Xavier (14-3, 6-0) on Wednesday with tip off scheduled at Wintrust Arena for 7:30 p.m. CST. The game will be broadcast on FS1.