A Depleted DePaul Roster Wins Game Two of the CBI Finals Against USF
By: Ethan Hennessy
DePaul was already down to essentially a seven man rotation going into game two of the CBI finals with Devin Gage out with a concussion since the quarterfinal round (the four remaining bench players have played a total of 31 combined seconds in the entire tournament). The Blue Demons would suffer another blow to their depth chart tonight when they lost a key senior leader. Eli Cain went down hard after going up for a layup at the 7:44 mark of the first half against two USF players. He remained on the floor for several minuets in obvious pain being tended to by trainers from both staffs and Dave Leitao.
He got up and walked back to the locker room very gingerly, and did not return to the main portion of McGrath Phillips Arena for the rest of the game. Cain has been ruled out for game 3 with a dislocated elbow ending his season and career.
The injury did not stop DePaul though Strus came out firing. South Florida was only putting one man on Max after having double teamed him for a portion of Monday’s game one, and experiencing success in doing it by holding him to a tournament low 17 points in Tampa. Strus early on pulled up and drained a three pointer from the logo. The next time down he buried an elbow three.
DePaul led 35-33 with 3:34 left in the first half before going on a 11-2 run which included another logo three from Strus to give him 20 to close the half at 46-35. Coming out of the break DePaul went on a quick 5-0 run, but the excitement in McGrath Phillips arena was short lived as Laquincy Rideau started burying threes five feet in front on my press row seat. He quickly had four three pointers and twenty total points less than seven minuets into the second half.
The bulls slowly chipped away at the margin throughout the entire second half before finally tying it up at 77 at the 3:34 mark. Collins grabbed a loose ball of a USF block, and dunked the ball statue of liberty style to get USF’s bench up. The game went to overtime after DePaul’s final possession ended in a turnover. In overtime the Blue Demons outscored their former CUSA and Big East rivals by four to win the game 100-96.
Game 3 of the CBI finals is tomorrow night back in McGrath Phillips Arena for the championship at 6pm central time.