Blue Demons Beat Coastal Carolina to Advance to the CBI Finals
By: Ethan Hennessy
DePaul topped the Chanticleers of Coastal Carolina by a score of 92-87 inside McGrath Phillips Arena on Wednesday night.
A big key to the game was their ability to control the glass. The Blue Demons used their size advantage out rebounding Coastal 36 to 24. Femi Olujobi had eight rebounds while Strus pitched in seven. Strus who entered the game averaging 35.5 points per game in the tournament struggled early in the semifinals to find his rhythm not scoring until 11:29 left in the first half when he drove and converted an and one contract layup. Coastal Carolina held the DePaul standout to well below his average only scoring 24 compared to 33 and 38 in the first two rounds respectively. They did this by denying him to catch the ball, and if he did immediately offering tight pressure. The other DePaul players stepped up which was clear was going to have to happen at some point if DePaul wanted to win this tournament. Paul Reed has been the unsung hero for this team. On this night he had 24 points four rebounds and three blocks. After the game Femi Olujobi was asked what makes Reed such a good shot blocker, and he said his length; he doesn’t even have to jump his arms are just so long.
With the win for the first time since 1945 DePaul will be playing for a postseason tournament championship this upcoming week. They got here by beating the Central Michigan Chippewas, Longwood Lancers, and Coastal Carolina Chanticleers all in Chicago. Their opponent the South Florida bulls also had the luxury of playing all of their games at home in the tournament in round one they beat Stony Brook after overcoming a twenty five point deficit to win in overtime. The quarterfinals saw them match up with the wolverines of Utah Valley out of the WAC whom they beat, and in the semifinals they beat Loyola Marymount.
After the game I asked Eli Cain if he has had a chance to think about if they win this series what it would mean for their stamp on the DePaul legacy. He said “It would be huge… for me Femi, and Max as seniors to go out with a championship, and for the young guys to have something to cherish and use to go forward would be huge for the program”.
Game one of the finals is Monday night in Tampa Florida at the Yungling Center. Game two is Wednesday night at McGrath Phillips Arena, and if necessary game three will be Friday night in McGrath Phillips Arena in Chicago. My prediction is DePaul will win a close game one down in Tampa. They will then come back home to a great crowd that is hungry to see them finish it off and win a championship, and the Blue Demons will sweep USF to take the CBI title.
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