CHICAGO — Little Rock’s highly touted defense shut down DePaul on Saturday as the Trojans ran away from McGrath-Phillips Arena with a 59-37 win.
Little Rock, which entered with the nation’s 69th-most efficient defense on KenPom, held DePaul (5-4) to a 39.8 effective field-goal percentage. The Trojans (8-0) forced turnovers in 32.8 percent of their defensive possessions, creating 27 points off turnovers.
DePaul received 16 points from senior wing Myke Henry but had nothing else working offensively. Little Rock’s active defense disrupted DePaul several times, and on some possessions the Blue Demons did not get into their offense until the shot clock was close to 10 seconds.
The usually effective point guard Billy Garrett Jr. had only two points on 1-of-6 shooting before leaving with cramps in the second half.
Little Rock’s offense was far from stellar, but good enough to open up a large lead. The Trojans surpassed the one point per possession benchmark by a sliver. Although Little Rock shot a mediocre 40.7 percent from the field, six 3-pointers and 16-of-20 free-throw shooting gave the scoring attack a nice boost.
Senior point guard Josh Hagins led the way with a game-highs of 19 points and eight assists. While the senior was the driving force, he got help my committee from his teammates, particularly off the bench.
Eight other Little Rock players, including five reserves, scored Saturday. The Trojans’ bench outscored the Blue Demons’ subs 27-4.