Saturday, February 2, 2019

Green's five takeaways from DePaul's 67-55 win over Providence

Photo Credit: Justin Casterline- Getty Images

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

On Blue Demon Day, the DePaul Blue Demons (12-9, 4-6 Big East) snapped a three-game losing streak with a 67-55 win over the Providence Friars (13-9, 3-6 Big East) on Saturday. The victory avenged a 70-67 loss in the prior meeting at the Dunkin Donuts Center on Jan. 27. Here are my five takeaways from Wintrust Arena.

1) Providence’s field goal woes:

The ending of both halves proved to be the nail in in the coffin for the Friars with nine straight misses each.

Providence coach Ed Cooley refused to give excuses for the poor performance and put it on himself to put the players in better positions to succeed going forward.

“I was disappointed in our discipline in the under four-minute marks,” Cooley said. “Our late-game situations are really hurting us right now. I’m not doing a good job with this group as far as execution with wide-open shots, but at the end of the day, the accountability is on me as a coach. I clearly have to do a much better job with our personnel and give guys a little more confidence.”

2) Reed’s bounce back:

After being held to six points against Villanova, Paul Reed responded with 18 points and 15 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season.

Blue Demons coach Dave Leitao believes Reed’s surface is still scratching and wants him to remain humble in order for the big picture to be realized.

“Paul has a really high ceiling, but has a lot to learn and as long as he keeps a positive attitude and accepts learning and growing, his potential is through the roof,” Leitao said. “We will continue to push him and if we do that, he will continue to do better.”

3) The molding of Duke:

Highly touted freshman David Duke has experienced growing pains this season, but Saturday proved to be a positive step in development with a team-high 17 points, on 3-of-6 from three-point range.

Duke helped set the tone for the Friars’ offense early in the first half with a pair of three-point makes. Cooley views Duke in the same mold as guards from the past decade at Providence, such as Kris Dunn, Kyron Cartwright and Bryce Cotton.

“We are trying to get [David] off the ball a little bit and let him be more of an athlete first,” Cooley said. “It is the same way we developed Kris Dunn, Kyron Cartwright and Bryce Cotton, but those athletes had to be more comfortable on the floor before they could be given a position.”

Cooley believes Duke has become more at ease with the system, but wants overall results to translate to wins, instead of spurts.

“He’s getting more comfortable and feeling a little bit better about himself, but has to be better than that,” Cooley said. “Last time I checked, we are 3-6 [in the Big East] and don’t care what he is doing, I care about winning.”

4) Closing it out the right way:

A good chunk of the Blue Demon wins this season have come with some nail-biters where they almost blew sizable leads and having to hang on by a thread.

Saturday’s game proved to be the exception as DePaul closed the game on a 10-0 run and made stops on defense at critical times. The Blue Demons’ success in the second half of Big East play could hinge on late-game executions.

5) DePaul’s perfection from the charity stripe:

Free throws have been a struggle for DePaul this season, but the second half showed otherwise as it went a perfect 14-of-14 and played a pivotal part in the win, when other areas on the floor went cold.

“We started off the beginning of the season talking about how good of a shooting team we can be and have picked up the pace in the amount of attempts we get,” Leitao said. “I think it is a credit of bringing the ball to the defense and attacking the rim.”