Saturday, December 14th, the DePaul Blue Demons (10-1) took on the UIC Flames (4-7) at Wintrust Arena in a city battle. DePaul got off to a slow start but kept it close. Blue Demons ultimately walked away with a 86-65 win with ease.
I arrived 2 hours early to watch warmups at Wintrust Arena. DePaul was first on court. Not surprised to see Paul Reed up early getting in work.
It was a slow start for the DePaul Blue Demons. UIC. DePaul started 2 for 11 shooting through seven minutes. The Blue Demons would pick things up and would go on to finish 12 for 29 from the field and 9 for 11 from the free-throw line. UIC had plenty of opportunities but couldn’t capitalize on the Blue Demons sloppiness (which included 11 turnovers). DePaul held a 34-25 lead at the half.
UIC Braelen Bridges was a force all game. He scored 6 of his 14 points and had 9 of his 14 rebounds in the first half.
Every now and then, local celebrities will roll through to a game. Saturday, former NBA player Sonny Parker (father of Jabari Parker) was trying to see what all this “Blue Demon chatter” was all about.
Romeo Weems started the second half of with this layup below. He scored nine points and had three rebounds, 3 assists, 3 assists, and a block in 27 minutes.
Charlie Moore was tasked with playing a lot more minutes than he is used to before the game. Moore decided to capitalize on the moment and played like a leader. He lead the team with 26 points (8/15 FG, 9/11 FT) and five assists in just under 38 minutes. He also had one rebound, 2 steals, and only 2 turnovers.
Paul Reed is a must-watch player in college basketball. He is a walking double-double and shows no signs of slowing down. He scored 16 points (7/16 FG) with 12 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, and a block shot. The Big East has been put on notice and many are starting to adjust game plans against him. Also on notice- NBA teams. Saturday’s game was attended by a Miami Heat scout.
Nick Ongenda made a name for himself on Saturday. He was hustling on both ends. He scored six points, a rebound, and a steal in his 15 minutes of play.
After an Ongenda reverse layup, the Blue Demon bench erupted in excitement. It did not matter if you’re in the game or the bench, every DePaul player gets involved. Pantelis Xidias is a much-watch with the energy he brings.
The Blue Demons ended up being too much for the Flames. DePaul outlasted UIC with their 86-65 win.
After the game, Charlie Moore and Jalen Coleman-Lands spoke with the media followed by DePaul head coach Dave Leitao.
I asked HC Leitao, “At the thirteen minute mark in the first half, you guys shot 2 for 11. What did you tell your team that sparked the 5-0 run and 10 for 18 [shooting] the rest of the way?”
For his response, click the link to hear it:
DePaul looks to keep their hot start going with an away game against Cleveland State on Wednesday.
The series is split in the two games they have played. DePaul won the last match up 83-73 last season at Wintrust Arena (11/28/18).