Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Green’s five takeaways from DePaul’s 101-69 win over Georgetown

Photo Credit: Geno Green- College Sports Overload

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

The DePaul Blue Demons (15-13, 7-10 Big East) avenged last Wednesday’s loss to the Georgetown Hoyas (18-12, 8-9 Big East) in style, 101-69 to make it back-to-back wins in the penultimate game in conference play. Here are my five takeaways from Wintrust Arena.

1) A night unlike any other for DePaul:

For the majority of the power conference schools, seven conference wins usually comes with ease, but the DePaul Blue Demons tasted their seventh win in Big East play for the first time since the 2006-07 season— also the last where they played in the postseason in the NIT.

On top of the seventh league win, the Blue Demons scored 100 or more points in Big East play for the second time since joining in the 2005-06 season. The only other time came on March 2, 2006 in a 108-69 win over Syracuse. 

Coach Dave Leitao knows the high-scoring will not come every game, but in a race where the Blue Demons are one game back from a five-way tie for third place, swagger will be the focus down the stretch.

“We played our most complete game of the season on both ends of the floor and got open shots early in possessions,” Leitao said. “It is the second game in a row where we scored the ball with 100 tonight and 92 against St. John’s. When we defend, it allows us to gain more confidence in what we are doing.”

2) Cain’s bounce back:

After being held to two points against St. John’s, Cain asserted himself back into DePaul’s rotation with 24 points, on 8-of-16 shooting in his final home game at Wintrust Arena.

Leitao wishes Cain could be more emotional on the floor, but likes how the stoic nature of the senior being able to respond after a poor performance.

“The thing I love the most about [Eli] is his even-keeled tone. Sometimes, I wished he was a little bit more emotional good or bad, but there was no panic or ill feelings from Sunday’s performance,” Leitao said. “He had a tremendous game all the way around and that’s the way you really want to go out at home as a senior.”

3) Nothing to lose:

While their crisp three-point shooting headlined the effort going 14-of-28, the Blue Demons turned 15 Hoya mistakes into 27 points on the other end.

Georgetown coach Patrick Ewing did not like the effort shown and knows with how competitive the Big East is, an off-night can result in performance like Wednesday night.

“[DePaul] has guys that can score and I guess I thought we could just show up and it doesn’t happen that way. If you look at how everyone is stacked up in the Big East, you can’t take any game for granted,” Ewing said.

4) Govan’s struggles:

After a 21-point performance with 11 of those points coming in the double overtime period in Saturday’s 77-71 win over Seton Hall, Jessie Govan struggled for most of the night as a poke in the eye cost him most of the first half and was out of sync the rest of the way with six points on 1-of-6 shooting in 22 minutes.

After Govan dissected DePaul’s defense with 26 points in the last meeting on Feb. 27, Leitao crafted a meticulous game plan on Georgetown’s leading scorer.

“[Jessie] had freedom last game and we thought on the perimeter that we could press up on him a little bit more so that he didn’t get open looks,” Leitao said. “He is the best screen setter we have seen all year long and we threw a second defender in the post and it got him back on his heels more to force him to pass the ball out.”

5) The Strus strikes back:

Momentum can be a very magical thing to possess in the month of March and DePaul carried over a cerebral second half showing against St. John’s with a hot first half being up by as many as 27 points behind hot shooting from Max Strus.

On Star Wars night, the senior struck once more on another evil empire with a game-high 30 points, which followed up a career-high 43 points against the Red Storm on March 3.

For most of the second half, Georgetown focused its game plan primarily on limiting open looks on the perimeter for Strus, which backfired as he showed his ability to be a prime distributor by delivering a pair of looks to Eli Cain for three-point makes. 

The more Strus continues to impact the Blue Demons in various forms on the floor, the more they can be a tough out in next week’s Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden.