The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

Men’s basketball’s defensive struggles continue with another blowout loss at home

Samantha Davis
DePaul sophomore Elijah Fisher goes up for a layup Wednesday, Jan. 17 against Providence, at Wintrust Arena. Fisher finished with 19 points.

DePaul’s men’s basketball struggles continue as they suffer another blowout loss to a Big East opponent, this time to Providence Jan. 17, 100-62. Concerns arise about the team’s defensive efforts as they’ve had a rough stretch, losing the last three games by an average of 29.6 points, resulting in a point differential of -189. 

“I’m very disappointed in just our fight and overall competitiveness over the course of that basketball game,” head coach Tony Stubblefield said of the team’s performance. “Again, in this league, nobody is going to feel sorry for us. We’re going to have to figure it out and what we got to do is get five guys out there on that floor that are going to compete and play together.”

In Wednesday’s loss to the Friars, it was the first time during Stubblefield’s tenure that his defense allowed 100 points. The team’s defense has struggled in conference play this season, giving up an average of 85.83 points per game. The Blue Demons followed the loss Wednesday with a loss to Butler in Indianapolis on Saturday, 74-60.

“Effort, you gotta want it,” sophomore forward Elijah Fisher said of how the team can improve defensively. “You gotta want it for a full 40 minutes, it can’t be for 10 minutes and then stop playing for five (minutes) then pick it up for another five when it needs to be for 40. So you got to fight and keep it together.”

Aside from Fisher scoring 19 points, the offense as a whole struggled against the Friars, with no other player on the team reaching double-digits. 

DePaul sophomore Jaden Henley finishes at the rim Wednesday, Jan. 17, against Providence, at Wintrust Arena. (Samantha Davis)

Despite senior center Jeremiah Oden being a focal point early in the season, he has scored less than 10 points in every game since Dec. 16. His struggles continued against the Friars as he ended the night scoring just a single point from a free throw while shooting 0-for-8 from the field.

“We’re trying to get him going and we need his production,” Stubblefield said of Oden’s offensive struggles. “We need him to give us 14 to 15 to 16 points to give ourselves a chance, and he hasn’t been able to do that since the start of Big East play. Hopefully he gets it going.”

Entering the game in dire need of a victory, both teams were contending with a four-game losing streak and offensive struggles. Nevertheless, the Friars managed to turn things around, putting up its highest points scored of the season, while shooting 58.3% from the field and 40% from beyond the arc.

After star player Bryce Hopkins suffered a season-ending knee injury, maintaining consistency has been a challenge for the Friars. However, against the Blue Demons, everything clicked, offering a chance to build momentum as the season progresses into its later stages.

“To get our first true road win of the season and first Big East road win was really important to us,” Providence first year head coach Kim English said of the team snapping its losing streak. “I thought our guys just played to our standard tonight and that was the message. You can’t win until you eliminate losing. Credit to our guys, they got it done in a lot of areas tonight.”

Providence secured the win primarily by outscoring DePaul 53-31 in the second half, coupled with shooting a remarkable 61.3% from the field. Surrendering 53 points marked the team’s second-highest total points allowed in a single half this season. The Blue Demons allowed five players to score at least 12 points or more for the Friars.

Among those players is Rich Barron, a freshman forward and Chicago native, who seized the opportunity to play in front of his family upon returning home. He notched 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting during his 16 minutes of court action.

“Just feels good to honestly have the whole community behind me,” Barron, who played high school basketball at St. Ignatius, said of how it felt playing back home. “It just feels honestly great to get a win and get back on the winning side.”

DePaul’s struggles continue, raising concerns about the team’s defensive efforts as the season progresses.

“I don’t necessarily think they quit,” Stubblefield said. “I just think when you’re turning the ball over that leads into an easy transition basket, you dig yourself into too big of a hole to overcome.”

With a current record of 3-15, the team might be running out of time to reverse its fortunes, considering there are only 13 games left in the schedule.

DePaul is currently on a 19-game losing streak in Big East conference games and is 10 losses away from surpassing Georgetown’s record of 29 consecutive conference game losses.

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