Game Notes: G’Town at DePaul
The Demons’ offense continues at its glacial pace.
by Quinn Peterson
Though their defense has been solid, scoring has been a major issue all season for the DePaul Blue Demons, and after Sunday’s Big East battle against No. 13 Georgetown, it’s clear that that deficiency is still yet to be fixed. Conversely, the Hoyas were able to use an efficient, balanced scoring attack, along with an equally potent defense, to dominate the tempo of the game, and cruise to a 67-50 win over the Demons.
The first half proved to be nothing but a game of runs. As the Hoyas opened the game with a 9-2 run, it looked as though the Demons could be in for a long Sunday afternoon. Even more alarming was the fact that 6 of G’Town’s 9 points came via uncontested layups and just two plays into the game DePaul Head Coach Jerry Wainwright was calling for a timeout. The Hoyas aren’t known for their transition scoring, but that’s what it was that propelled them to an early lead.
The Demons would respond by applying some 3/4 court pressure on defense and a 7-0 run of their own on offense to notch things up at 9. It would be the only tie of the entire game (G’Town led the rest of the way). The Hoyas would then respond with another run of their own, as they used a 13-2 spurt to jump out to a double-digit lead. Georgetown center Greg Munroe would be the one to lead the Hoyas early on, as he pioneered their run with 9 points, 3 rebounds, 1 block and 1 assist.
In light of Monroe’s dominance, DePaul shifted to a packed-in 2-3 zone that helped ignite another run of their own. They did an excellent job of controlling the paint, and were able to get the Hoyas out of rhythm — though it would only be for a brief period of time. Just like the Hoyas, it was their man in the middle, Mac Koshwal, who put the team on his shoulders offensively, scoring 6 straight Demon points. It was just his third game back since returning from a foot injury suffered in November, but he appeared to be in tip-top shape, throwing his body around and making plays, despite being undersized in comparison to Munore.
“I guess Mac is back and he’s healthy, huh,” Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III joked as he reflected on Koshwal’s play. “He a terrific basketball player. His feel for the game. He’s unbelievable at both ends of the court. At the offensive end, he’s someone that finesse you or beat you up, and that’s unique [...] individually, there’s not much he can’t do on the court, and they’re a much different team with him out there.”
After trading baskets for a few minutes, the Hoyas eventually broke free, closing the half with an 8-0 run over the final three and a half minutes to push the lead back to 10.
“We had fought back. The crowd was going and we were going,” said Wainwirght. “They got 7 points in like a minute, when it had taken them about ten minutes to seven points [before that]. Rather than going in, close, down three, we went in down 10.”
Though the two teams were nearly equal in almost every statistical category, the glaring difference was efficiency and balance. While the Hoyas shot 54 percent, getting a balanced effort on offense with solid contributions from Monroe, Chris Wright, Austin Freeman and Jason Clark, the Demons shot just 10-26 for 39 percent, and six of those field came from Koshwal. He would lead all scorers at the half with 12 points.
Georgetown 35, DePaul 25. Halftime.
The first bucket of the half for the Demons came from Will Walker, DePaul’s leading scorer. More importantly, it was his first basket of the game for Walker, as G’Town, namely Chris Wright, did an outstanding job on Walker in the first half, holding him to 0-5 shooting. Wright did an excellent job denying Walker the opportunity to even touch the rock, and Walker seemed to be forcing shots up.
“You have to [focus on containing Will Walker],” said Thompson III. “He’s seen everything, it’s not like anything is new to him. He puts so much pressure on you because he’s poised.
“As a group, I thought we were very attentive to Will tonight,” he continued.
Walker, who was 3-12 in the Demon’s previous game (a December 26 loss at Pitt), would finish with just 9 points, on 3-14 shooting, in addition to 4 turnovers to his 4 assists. Walker, a shooting guard, has been playing PG for the past two games.
“Will Walker had to shift to point. I don’t know if we’re going to re-evaluate that or not. It’s a whole different position for him than he’s played for the last two and a half years.”
While the Hoyas maintained and increased their lead throughout the half, Monroe, who led the Hoyas in scoring in the first half, had just one point, a further testament to the balance of the Hoyas. Wright, Freeman and Clark all stepped up to carry the scoring load. They would use their balanced effort to push their lead to as much as 20, never looking back.
Again, statistically, the game was even in nearly every category, except one: field goals.
“If you really look at them [the stats] almost everything is even […] but there’s an obvious discrepancy,” said Wainwright. “Both teams took about the same number of three’s, both teams took relatively the same number of shots, but again the efficiency of their shot-making [was the difference].”
The Demons finished the game shooting just under 40 percent, while the Hoyas shot a blazing 57 percent, including 61 percent in the second half. Wright led the Hoyas with 18 points, while Freeman added 17, Clark added 13, and Monroe had 10. Koshwal, the lone Blue Demon in double-figures, had 16 points and 8 boards.
Georgetown 67, DePaul 50. Final Score.