DePaul basketball: Another loss to Butler

depaul basketball

In typical DePaul basketball fashion, the Blue Demons lost control of another Big East game, losing to the Butler Bulldogs 68-58. This is DePaul’s third consecutive loss, the Demons’ second three-game losing streak of the season.

“Obviously not happy - disappointed again as we try to put ourselves in a position to win basketball games in this league,” said DePaul coach Dave Leitao. “Just too many possessions where solidarity, [running] solid offense, playing solid defense and stringing those together didn’t happen the way we need to.”

DePaul started the game strong. The Demons had a week to prepare for Saturday’s game against Butler as their game against Xavier that was scheduled for Feb. 3 was postponed. The Blue Demons’ defense was effective early against the Bulldogs as Butler scored only four points in the first eight minutes of the contest.

DePaul’s offense also went on a 10-0 scoring run during those eight minutes, racking up a 12-point lead by the midway point of the first half, leading Butler 18-6 and marking the largest lead the Demons would hold. The Demons’ offense fell off later in the first half, making it easier for the Bulldogs to get back into the game.

After scoring those 18 points, the Demons finished the half scoring only only 11 more points, nine of those from Javon Freeman-Liberty.

Butler went on its own 10-0 run in the last few minutes of the half, going into the break with a slim lead over the Blue Demons 30-29.

Both teams came out hot for the second half, each making their first four shots, but the Bulldogs were able to hold a lead for the rest of the game.

Freeman-Liberty did his best to keep DePaul in the game, leading all players with both a game-high and career-high of 26 points on 9-for-15 shooting. As Saturday’s player of the game, Freeman-Liberty added eight rebounds, three assists and four steals over nearly 35 minutes of play. This was also Freeman-Liberty’s fourth consecutive game scoring in double digits and his 10th career game of at least 25 points as he was the only Demon to reach double digits on Saturday.

The Bulldogs started to really pull away midway through the second half, opening up a seven-point advantage over the Demons. DePaul barely stayed in the game for the remainder of play, getting as close as six points behind, but couldn’t find the offense to tie the game.

“We were in striking distance, but just could not put together quality possessions on both ends of the floor to move the needle on the scoreboard,” said Leitao.

As the final minutes of the game ticked down, freshman forward David Jones made his DePaul debut, scoring his first two college points on his first shot attempt.

This loss drops DePaul to 3-8 overall and 1-8 in the Big East. The Demons are in last place in the conference and two wins behind Georgetown. DePaul is back in action on Saturday, taking on the Providence Friars at Wintrust Arena. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. ET on FS1.

Photo by Alexa Sandler | The DePaulia