Saturday, December 21st, the DePaul Blue Demons (12-1) faced off against the Northwestern Wolverines (5-5) at Wintrust Arena. It was an up and down game from the start. The Blue Demons went on a late-game 11-0 run to pull ahead of the Wolverines and beat them 83-78.
Paul Reed and the DePaul Blue Demons have been getting some major media exposure over the last few weeks. To go along with that, more fans are wanting autographs.
This young fan came prepped with a Paul Reed photo to get signed. Reed signed for him and several others prior to the game. This probably won’t be Reed’s last autograph session.
Nothing has been coming easy for the Blue Demons. It was a slow start for the DePaul offense but Jaylen Butz kept things close. He scored five of the team’s first seven points and was a force in the paint.
Butz scored 13 points and had 6 rebounds in the first half. A whopping five of six rebounds were offensive boards that helped create second-chance points.
Coach Leitao had people watching practice prior to this game. One thing they noticed is Darious Hall leadership. It was on full discipline against the Wolverines. He could be scene calling screens, getting back quickly on defense, and even taking a charge (seen below). He finished with six points, seven rebounds (3 offensive), and a steal. Below- Hall draws the offensive foul (charge) on Robbie Berans.
Nothing comes easy. Northwestern’s Miller Kopp scored 21 points, had four rebounds, and assisted another basket. Below-he drives by Jalen Coleman-Lands for an easy two late in the first half.
Another key to Northwestern’s lineup was freshman Boo Buie. He lead the team with 25 points, 3 rebounds, six assists, and two steals in 33 minutes. Below- a rare mistake by Buie which created a Charlie Moore bucket and a two-point game.
The first half was up and down. DePaul held a lead as big as 11 points and Northwestern’s largest was six points. Ultimately, it was NU with the four-point lead at the half.
Northwestern shot way better in the first half. They were 15 for 27 from the floor which included 5 for 13 from the three-point line. They also went 3 for 5 from the free-throw line.
DePaul took more shots in the first half with the help of getting offensive rebounds. Except they could not always capitalize. They shot 13 for 36 from the field which includes 3 for 9 from beyond the arc. The Blue Demon also struggled from the free-throw line as they went 5 for 10.
Shocking factoid- Paul Reed was nonexistent on offensive. He was 0 for 9 in the first half but still grabbed seven rebounds.
CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein finished his Windy Roadtrip at Wintrust Arena. He was greeted with a lot of fan love and he reciprocated by taking selfies with them.
Basketball is game of runs and DePaul knows that. The Blue Demons came out ready to flip the tide with a 16-4 run but that was quickly followed up with an 11-2 Wolverine run to retake the lead. Below- Butz continues his offensive explosion with a layup bring the Blue Demons with one point of the Wolverines
This Reed basket (below) came at the 2:28 mark in the second half and put DePaul up 41-40. It also gave him his first points of the night which took a full half and 2:28 minutes into the second half to score.
Charlie Moore assisted a Jalen Coleman-Lands’ three-pointer to give DePaul a six-point lead with 14:46 to go. After JCL made the shot, Moore throws up the “three sign” in excitement.
Charlie Moore has become a leader on this DePaul. Last Saturday, he had a game-high 25 points and 10 assists. AN EASY DOUBLE-DOUBLE. He also had three rebounds and three steals. Below- Moore extends the DePaul lead 50-42 with 13:56 to go.
Paul Reed was slow to start but the second half was a different story. Reed was 5 for 8 in the half from the field which included a much needed three-pointer (it kept things close). He finished with his nation-best 10th double-double after finishing with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Reed also had one assist and a key late-game block.
DePaul went on an 11-0 run with about three minute left in the game. The crowd was on their toes and cheering on the Blue Demons. Butz even walked over and clapped a few fans hands.
At that point, DePaul was still down and I overheard assistant coach Kevin Edwards not too pleased at Butz for high-fiving fans. In the end, it didn’t matter because it was a momentum changing moment as they held on to win the game.
DePaul held on to win 83-78 against Northwestern. Three keys to the win were the Blue Demons’ 27-12 advantage from points off turnovers, advantage from second chance points, and points in the paint.
DePaul has now completed their non-conference schedule and finished with an impressive 12-1. They also own a 3-0 against the Big Ten.
After a great evening on the court, Jaylen Butz became the first Blue Demon since Max Strus in 2017 to win Waldo Fisher-Frank McGrath award.
Head coach Dave Leitao said, “That’s how Chicago basketball supposed to be played.” For that and more from Leitao, view the video below.
After Coach Leitao spoke, Northwestern’s coach Chris Collins took stage. Collins was proud of his team’s play considering they are a rather young team. Of course, he would have loved to win but it just did not end that way.
Collins also spoke about the intensity and fight the two teams bring to this match-up. It is always a fight to the end when they play each other. Maybe one day there will be an in-state tournament of some sort.
Jaylen Butz and Charlie Moore followed Collins. The two combined for 49 of DePaul’s 83 points. They like the competitive nature their non-conference schedule brought them and are glad to walk out with their current record. While that is all true, both recognize the Blue Demons have to take another leap to compete in the Big East. They share the notion about their break came at “the perfect time.”
DePaul opens Big East play Monday, December 30th against Seton Hall at Wintrust Arena in Chicago, Illinois.
Last season, the Blue Demons won both match-ups with a 75-74 win at home on Jan. 6 and a 97-94 win on the road on Jan 19.