Rapid Reaction: DePaul 87, Stanford 72

A few days after losing to previously winless Lehigh at home, DePaul looked like a totally different team Sunday in a 87-72 win against Stanford. Here is The Catch and Shoot’s rapid reaction to the Blue Demons’ victory:

—This team has some potential, apparently. Against its toughest non-conference opponent, DePaul played its best basketball. Stanford made its share of mistakes and blunders, but DePaul was crisp on offense and made good decisions. Defensively, the Blue Demons’ pressure forced many Cardinal turnovers and some difficult shots.

DePaul is nowhere near a great team. The Blue Demons simply played a great game. But after a loss to Lehigh and needing a late 3-pointer to beat UIC, it looked like this team would struggle to win a single game in the Big East.

—The Big East has been really successful in non-conference play, so where does DePaul stack up? Even with the impressive showing against Stanford, it’s hard to imagine DePaul finishing higher than 8th place in the Big East. The conference is much better overall with seven teams in Kenpom’s top 50 and Seton Hall not too far outside at No. 66.

But even if the Blue Demons are headed for another finish at the bottom of the Big East, they showed Sunday they can be competitive with just about anyone when they are on their game. Stanford entered Sunday ranked No. 32 on Kenpom.

Photo: DePaul Athletics
Photo: DePaul Athletics

—Myke Henry is emerging as DePaul’s go-to scorerHenry scored a game-high 29 points on 12-for-18 shooting in Sunday’s win. This comes one game after he posted a double-double against Lehigh with 24 points and 10 rebounds.

At 6-foot-6, Henry is a major threat in the high post. He has a great mid-range jump shot and can drive to the rim. He is DePaul’s most versatile player when you combine that with his post game and ability to hit an occasional 3-pointer.

Sophomore guard Billy Garrett Jr. can get to the rim and also make some shots from the outside, and sophomore forward Tommy Hamilton IV can score in the post and from mid-range. But Henry’s versatility makes him the Blue Demons’ best offensive option when they need a bucket.

—Are the Blue Demons bipolarIt feels like DePaul goes through stretches of playing with high energy. Then suddenly the switch flips and they go quiet. The Blue Demons were energetic and intense for most of their win against the Cardinal. But they came out of halftime with no intensity and had a couple of similar lapses later in the second half. Against Lehigh, it was the opposite. The Blue Demons looked like they didn’t care for most of the game, and by the time they found their energy it was too late.

Like any team, DePaul plays best with high energy, intensity and urgency. Coach Oliver Purnell and the DePaul veterans have to figure out how to get this team to play like that for a full 40 minutes.

Author: Jesse Kramer

Jesse Kramer is the founder of The Catch and Shoot. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. He has had work featured on SI.com, College Insider, The Comeback/Awful Announcing, and 247Sports.

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