Monday, January 26, 2009

DePaul Hosts Cincinnati

The DePaul men's basketball team hosted Cincinnati on Saturday at Allstate arena and came up just short of pulling off a late comeback against the Bearcats. DePaul entered the game without a win in Big East conference play and an overall record of 8-9. This was my first glimpse at this year's DePaul team and I had to familiarize myself with some of the key players so far this season. Dar Tucker leads the team in scoring with 18.8 points per game and is averaging 30 minutes a game. Mac Koshwal, a 6-10 sophomore center from Chicago, is averaging 14 points and 11 rebounds and averages the most minutes on the team. The only other Blue Demon averaging double digit points is junior guard Will Walker, with 11 points a game.
The Blue Demons jumped out to an early lead against the Bearcats leading 15-9 midway through the first half. Coming out of a timeout, Cincinnati began applying full-court pressure on the defensive end leading to three straight DePaul turnovers. Forcing a turnover of their own, DePaul was able to pick up a loose ball on defense but Mac Kashwal dribbled a breakaway opportunity off of his legs. Cincinnati seized the lead in the midst of a 12 point run which included a 4-point play by Deonta Vaughn, who hit five 3-pointers in the first half for the Bearcats. DePaul let up an easy dunk to close the first half and trailed by eleven points going into the break.
The Blue Demons would never regain the lead, trailing by double digits for most of the second half. With four and a half minutes left in the game DePaul cut the lead to 7 points on a Kashwal lay-up making the score 54-47. With 2:15 remaining Dar Tucker was fouled while shooting a 3-pointer from the corner. He made all three free throws cutting the lead to 2 points. DePaul had themselves in position to steal their first Big East victory of the season in a game they had no business winning. However, two questionable late shots would decide the outcome. Trailing by one point with 40 seconds left, Will Walker missed a deep 3-pointer from the top of the key. After making 1 of 2 free throws, Cincinnati held a 2 point lead. Then with 10 seconds to go and down by just two, Dar Tucker pulled up for a contested 3-point shot and missed. Cincinnati grabbed the rebound and hit two more free throws to seal DePaul's tenth loss of the season leaving them at 8-10 overall and winless in Big East play.

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