DePaul caught the nation’s eye with a hot start in Big East play, but the Blue Demons have struggled the last few weeks. That continued Saturday when DePaul fell 83-73 at Butler for its fourth loss in the last five games.
A myriad of turnovers and cold shooting put DePaul (12-13, 6-6 Big East) in a 20-point hole late in the first half. A late spurt started by a Myke Henry 3-pointer brought the Blue Demons within 40-27 at halftime.
“Ill-advised shots in the first half along with Butler’s hot shooting really put us in a deep hole,” coach Oliver Purnell said. “Giving up 14 points off turnovers in the first half was a problem.”
Butler’s lead ballooned back to 18 points early in the second period, but then DePaul stepped it up on both ends. Butler (18-6, 8-3) faced a six-minute stretch where it shot 1-of-6 from the field with a pair of turnovers.
Meanwhile, senior forward Forrest Robinson scored 8 points in a 21-7 DePaul run to bring the Blue Demons within four points at 57-53 midway through the half.
“In the second half we played much better offensively,” Purnell said. “We made cuts, we had some patience, we made shots.”
The Bulldogs responded, but the Blue Demons did not go away until Butler finally stretched its lead back to 12 points with 5:18 left.
Henry finished with 12 points while senior wing Jamee Crockett led DePaul with 14 points. With a pair of 3-pointers, Crockett moved to No. 15 on the Blue Demons’ all-time list with 108 triples.
Butler received most of its production from junior guard Kellen Dunham (24 points), junior forward Roosevelt Jones (20 points) and sophomore forward Andrew Chrabascz (16 points). Senior guard Alex Barlow did not fill up the scoring column with just 8 points, but he also had 8 assists and 4 steals.
DePaul wraps up its road swing Wednesday at St. John’s. The Blue Demons knocked off the Red Storm in overtime Jan. 18 at Allstate Arena.