For a moment in the middle of the second half, senior forward Forrest Robinson hit a three-pointer and the game was tied. For a moment, DePaul had the momentum and it looked like they could overcome their slow start.
However, this was only a moment. The Blue Demons could not keep pace with Creighton and soon were trailed again. They let the Jays run away with the game late and fell 75-62.
“Our offense wasn’t very good in the first half,” head coach Oliver Purnell said It was like we were in a “Horse” game against Creighton which is something you don’t want to do.”
The Blue Demons (12-17, 6-10) lost their fifth straight and guaranteed themselves a losing conference record for the eighth straight year.
“It was a lack of focus on our end,” Robinson said. “We came out slow, we didn’t play good defense, we didn’t rebound the ball well and that’s what you get when you start slow against a great team like Creighton.”
DePaul started off ice-cold, going 1-6 from the field before the first media timeout and had committed three fouls already. A contested three from senior guard Jamee Crockett was the only basket for the Blue Demons as they trailed Creighton 5-3.
The Jays went on a run after the timeout, going up 11-3 before DePaul got another basket. However the Blue Demons kept their low shooting percentage, going 3-for-16 from the field as the Jays went up to a 22-9 lead with 7:50 to go in the first half.
DePaul shot better after the media timeout and kept pace with the Blue Jays going into halftime. They moved up to 40 percent from the field and were within seven at the break. With 2.4 seconds to go, Crockett hit an impressive, mid-range jumpshot despite being fouled to cut the lead to seven. Still, the early damage had them in a hole as they went into the locker rooms.
“Good offense comes from good defense and we weren’t locking in at either end of the court,” Robinson said. “We were taking bad shots, weren’t finding people in transition, leaving shooters open and it’s just a recipe for disaster.”
To start the second half, DePaul did a better job of getting inside and fixing their first half problems. After steadily cutting the Jays’ lead, they tied it up with a jumper from Crockett. Creighton went back up by three on the next possession but Forrest Robinson answered with a three of his own to tie it at 43-43 with 12:29 to go.
This would be fleeting, however. Creighton inched away from DePaul until they finally broke it open with a three with just under two minutes to go to put them up by 11. This would be the dagger that DePaul could not recover from, and the clock ran out as they lost 75-62.
The loss did not move DePaul’s position in the Big East as they stayed pat at seventh place as they look to their last couple games of the season.
“We have to finish strong,” Robinson said. “We know how to put it together, we know how to win a basketball game we just have to get back to what we do.”
DePaul hosts Butler on Senior Day in their home finale Feb. 28 at 1 p.m. before travelling to Marquette on March 7 to close out the regular season.