DePaul “Exercises their Demons” by Beating Texas Tech in the Big East Big 12 Battle
By: Ethan Hennessy
Entering Wednesday night’s Big East Big 12 Battle between DePaul and Texas Tech the game was being labeled as the biggest game in Wintrust Arena history. 15 NBA scouts from 13 different teams were in the building, and DePaul had its biggest crowd of the season of 5,493. The game certainty lived up to the hype. DePaul proved their resiliency by not folding under pressure, and beat the defending national runner up 65-60 in overtime.
“That’s why we moved downtown, so that we can have nights like this.” – Dave Leitao
A matchup that at the beginning of the week could have included one or perhaps even two ranked teams ended up having zero, but you wouldn’t have know that was the case by the game taking place on the court.
The game was close to start off. DePaul’s Paul Reed was blocking and altering Texas Tech’s shots from the beginning. He proved to be a key contributor to the blue demons success scoring 18 points, grabbing 7 rebounds, and blocking three shots. Tough interior defense was a theme for Chicago’s Big East team throughout the night. They established a precedent that if Texas Tech was going to be them it would have to be from behind the arc.
Both teams went back and forth in the first half. Neither team could gain an advantage though as the biggest lead for the entire game was seven. DePaul has a game tying three at the halftime buzzer that was waived off, and the red raiders took a 26-23 lead into intermission.
The second half was when the stars came out. Texas Tech guard and Chicago native Terrance Shannon Jr. scored 18 of his game high 24 points in the second half. DePaul coach Dave Leitao said this about Shannon Jr. who went to high school at Lincoln Park High School just blocks away from DePaul’s campus. “His spirt for the game is really good”. Both teams battled in the second half to account for more of the 12 total lead changes on the night. Shannon Jr. extended Tech’s lead out to six with three minutes remaining after hitting a huge three from the top of the key. But unlike DePaul teams of the past the demons were able to rally back. Jalen Coleman-Lands hit a open three on the wing to send the game to overtime.
DePaul still had to battle in overtime however, They did not score in the first three minutes of the extra time. After the game when a reporter brought up the fact that DePaul was down six with three minutes to play and had a three minute scoring drought in overtime Dave Leitao smiled and said “We’re trying to exercise the demons of the past”. The man to eventually break the drought was Jalen Coleman-Lands with another wide open elbow three-pointer.
DePaul looked like they had victory nearly secured. They had the ball with 25.4 seconds remaining, the shot clock was at 20 seconds, so they could dribble most of the clock out, and score at the end to put it the game out of reach. However, Texas Tech senior forward Chris Clarke stripped the ball from Charlie Moore near the Wintrust Arena Logo.
Moore fell down, and it looked like Clarke was going to take the ball and score on an uncontested fast break to give Texas Tech a one point lead with 20 seconds left, and possibly win the game, but Moore made the play of the game. While lying on the ground he managed to poke the ball away from Clarke as he was starting to break away. The ball was went into the corner of the uncontested Texas Tech front court, but a blue demon was able to eventually chase it down and got fouled. Jalen Coleman-Lands will get a lot of credit for the victory as he should for hitting the game tying three to send it to overtime, but Charlie Moore’s heads up play I think was even more instrumental to DePaul’s eventual 65-60 victory than the three.
DePaul fans surprisingly stormed the court after the final buzzer sounded. As mentioned before Texas Tech was not ranked, but the storm can be understandable given the significance a win like this in program and arena history.
Texas Tech coach Chris Beard after the game praised Dave Leitao, and congratulated DePaul on their success in the season up to this point. He said “It was a great environment in here”.
Next up for the Blue Demons they will host Buffalo out of the Mid American Conference in Wintrust Arena on Sunday evening. Texas Tech travels to New York City to face Louisiville in Madison Square Garden.
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