Thursday, December 5, 2019

Green's five takeaways from DePaul's best start since the 1986-87 season

Photo Credit: Geno Green

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

In a back and forth affair with each possession serving as its own game, a three-point fest took over as DePaul (9-0) knocked off 2018 national runner-up Texas Tech (5-3), 65-60 in overtime, led by Jalen Coleman-Lands’ 18 points, on 6-of-14 from the field. Coleman-Lands leads off my five takeaways for CSO:

1) The land of the rising Coleman-Lands:

Things came full circle for the senior, whose DePaul career has been defined by the injury bug for the most part. Coleman-Lands has shown this season what he can bring to the table when 100 percent healthy and elevated things to another level with the go-ahead three-pointer from the wing with 8.3 seconds left in overtime.

“I think about it at that time last year when I was hurt, I learned to cherish the moments you not just in this game, but every game," Coleman-Lands said. "I would not be the player that I am today without the trials and tribulations for what I went in the previous couple of seasons."

2) Moretti’s blemish:

Texas Tech’s Davide Moretti came into Wednesday’s game as one of the top free-throw shooters in the country and appeared to be on his way to another flawless effort. 

As Moretti drained the first of two free throws, things looked good as the Red Raiders were up 53-50 with 17 seconds left, but the second attempt clanked the rim, which opened the door for Coleman-Lands’ three-point make.

Things went from bad to worse as the junior fouled out in overtime with 10 points, but Texas Tech coach Chris Beard did not put the blame on a single effort, but more of overall accountability.

“This is college basketball. There has never been a guy that played this game who shot 100 percent from the line,” Beard said. “Even the best shooters miss from time to time, but we are also a no-excuse culture. That wasn’t the reason we came up a little bit short because we have to have a defense that is good enough to earn the right to win games, but give DePaul a lot of credit.”

3) Moore’s defensive breakup:

While Charlie Moore had a game to forget from a shooting standpoint with six points, on 2-of-15 from the field, the junior adapted made an impact with a game-high 10 assists, but an impact play on defense in the final minute of overtime proved to be the highlight.

Up 61-60 and appeared to have been stripped by Chris Clarke, Moore made a heads up play on the other end knocking away the ball, which gave Coleman-Lands enough to get the turnover with 13 seconds left. The Red Raiders did not score after that play and Moore’s hustle provided the Blue Demons with a different way to win a game, which is something most fans are not used to hearing.

4) Shannon’s homecoming:

Former Lincoln Park standout and one-time DePaul commit Terrence Shannon put on a show in front of his family and friends as the freshman supplied the bulk of Texas Tech’s offensive firepower in the absence of leading scorer Jahmi’us Ramsey with a game-high 24 points, on 9-of-18 from the field.

Even in defeat, the potential was shown for Shannon to be a complementary piece alongside Ramsey when he returns to full health.

5) A heavyweight fight at Wintrust:

For the first time this season, DePaul had to adapt to another team’s style of play and Texas Tech’s grind-it-out pace forced them to play possession-by-possession as if they were in the middle of a 15-round heavyweight boxing fight.

The Blue Demons responded to every blow and came out on top. A potential 10-0 start if they can handle the Buffalo Bulls on Sunday could be a possible jump to the Associated Press top 25 on Monday.

Only time will tell, but if Wednesday's game was any indication, Wintrust Arena could be the place to be once Big East play begins at the end of the month.