Xavier extends Blue Demons’ losing streak to eight-straight


Quentin Blais

Senior guard Jalen Terry puts up a reverse layup against St. John’s senior center Joel Soriano during Tuesday’s 92-83 loss to the Storm at Wintrust Arena.

DePaul continues to struggle to find a way into the win column after dropping both Big East contests this week against St. John’s and Xavier. With the losses, the Blue Demons’ losing streak reaches an undignified eight games.

“These guys are resilient,” head coach Tony Stubblefield said about the team’s losing streak. “They’re older, experienced guys, so they’ll bounce back. They fought and competed again, but this one [loss against St. John’s] was on me and I told them that they gave their best effort. I gotta give a better effort for them.”

On Saturday afternoon, No. 16 Xavier overpowered DePaul to a disproportionate score of 82-68, highlighted by five Musketeers players scoring double-digit points. The Blue Demons couldn’t find a way to halt first half woes, which caused them to trail 49-27 heading into halftime.

Senior Nick Ongenda secured his first start of the season after graduate forward Yor Anei was ruled out with a hamstring injury. Ongenda saw 21 minutes of court action and finished with five points, eight rebounds and four blocks.

DePaul once again struggled to start the game, missing its first six shots, but the defense held Xavier to only five points during that stretch. After the Xavier players extended their lead to 12-4, DePaul bounced back and went on a 9-0, underlined by back-to-back three-pointers from graduate guard Umoja Gibson and graduate forward Javan Johnson.

Gibson led the team in scoring with 17 points, helped by sinking five shots from beyond the arc. Gibson had three assists and rebounds each, but was forced into four turnovers by head coach Sean Miller’s man-to-man defense.

DePaul didn’t have enough offensive firepower to comeback after Xavier pulled away with an 11-1 run, led by three Musketeer three-pointers. 

Xavier’s lead continued to grow, and outside of Gibson and junior forward Da’Sean Nelson combining for 33 points, the team didn’t have enough offensively to come back. It also didn’t help that Johnson was held to just 10 points.

In the second half, Stubblefield’s defense held Xavier’s offense to start off 1-for-10 from the field, allowing zero three-pointers. DePaul outscored Xavier 49-33 in the second half, but couldn’t find a way to overcome its uninspiring first-half performance.

Xavier remains undefeated at home in Big East play this season as DePaul is still in search of its first conference road win. The Blue Demons fall to 9-18 on the season and 3-13 in conference.

DePaul (9-18, 3-13) returns to Chicago for a 7:30 p.m. game against Butler (13-14, 5-11) on Wednesday at Wintrust Arena. The game will be broadcast on FS1.