ROSEMONT, Ill. — DePaul recorded its biggest victory of the Dave Leitao Experience Pt. 2 on Tuesday, upsetting No. 11 Providence, 77-70, at Allstate Arena. The Blue Demons controlled more or less from wire to wire, leading for about 37 minutes of game time.
Here is how the Blue Demons recorded their best win in recent memory.
Return to offensive rebounding dominance. DePaul has not been good at many things this season, but offensive rebounding has easily been the team’s strongest area. But last week, Butler and Xavier kept the Blue Demons off the glass in two Blue Demons losses.
Providence’s defense uncharacteristically had a lot of holes Tuesday in the first half, allowing DePaul’s guards to drive into the lane often. The Blue Demons missed several layups, both contested and open, but the collapsing Friars defense struggled two find opponents crashing the glass.
The Blue Demons rebounded 12 of their 18 missed shots in the first half for a 66.7 offensive rebounding percentage. They turned those into 18 second-chance points and took a 38-38 tie into halftime.
The Friars tightened up on the glass in the second half, allowing six offensive rebounds and four second-chance points. Still, second-chance buckets were going to be DePaul’s best chance at scoring against Providence’s elite defense, which ranks No. 13 nationally in defensive efficiency.
Providence has been pretty average on the defensive glass this season, but the Friars are certainly not bad. Credit the Blue Demons for finding a way to completely dominate the boards.
Kris Dunn struggles. The potential top-five draft pick and NCAA All-American had one of his worst outing of the season, recording 14 points on 5-of-20 shooting.
One of those field goals came on an uncontested, breakaway dunk. Dunn’s opportunities in the half court were scarce.
DePaul changed up its defense between man and zone in an attempt to keep Dunn off balance. DePaul freshman Eli Cain rose to the challenge as Dunn’s primary defender in man-to-man, effectively keeping the Providence star out of the lane.
Having rim protector Rashaun Stimage, a 6-foot-8 forward who missed Saturday’s game against Xavier, was huge for DePaul. Stimage had three blocks, including two when Dunn got into the teeth of DePaul’s defense and attacked the hoop.
Not that this had much to do with DePaul’s defense, but Dunn also missed the front ends of two one-and-ones as Providence tried to make a late comeback.
What makes Dunn is effective is his versatility. He’s an excellent passer and lockdown defender. The 6-foot-4 junior tallied eight assists, two blocks and two steals. DePaul had to pick its poison, taking away Dunn’s scoring opportunities, and the strategy worked.
Another great scoring effort from Myke Henry. Henry notched a game-high 27 points on 12-of-18 shooting. He also had 11 rebounds, five of which came on the offensive glass, for his third double-double of the season.
Henry is now averaging 14.5 points per game and has scored in double figures eight straight times. Since a dud outing in the Big East opener against Georgetown, the 6-foot-6 senior is averaging 17 points per contest.