After winning four of five nonconference home games a year ago, DePaul is 0-2 at Wintrust Arena to open the season, a trend the Blue Demons will aim to reverse when South Dakota visits on Tuesday.
While DePaul’s losses to Purdue Fort Wayne and Long Beach State came by just 12 combined points, the Blue Demons’ collective halftime deficits in those games totaled 24 points.
DePaul (0-2) trailed by as many as 22 in the first half of an eventual 77-73 loss to the Beach on Saturday, something the Blue Demons took personally.
“Home court. That’s a slap in the face,” Blue Demons guard Caleb Murphy said. “We went into halftime, and it basically was like, ‘Bro, we’re getting beat by 20 in the first half on our own court, you know. That’s unacceptable.’ Our solution was to start playing harder, which we did.”
Playing again without point guard Jalen Terry (ankle) and transfer forward Mac Etienne (illness), the Blue Demons made their push behind a quartet of double-figure scorers. Elijah Fisher, a Texas Tech transfer, led the way with a career-best 25 points in 27 minutes.
“I feel like I’m just a guy that can come off the bench and just be a spark,” Fisher said. “Whether it’s defense, whether it’s rebounding, whether it’s getting a steal, whether it’s getting a charge, scoring the ball. Doing whatever it takes just for the team to win.”
South Dakota (2-0) sprinted to a 34-point halftime advantage on Friday in a 100-79 rout of Texas Rio-Grande Valley in Sioux Falls, S.D. The Coyotes made nine of their 11 3-point attempts before the break, and Central Florida transfer Lahat Thioune finished the contest with 24 points and 10 rebounds.
Five players scored in double figures for South Dakota, including Kaleb Stewart and Felix Brostrom, who shared the team lead with three treys apiece.
The Coyotes continue to work on solidifying their rotation.
“We’re trying to play a lot of guys early on,” South Dakota coach Eric Peterson said. “This year, we’ll play a lot of guys the first five to seven games.”
–Field Level Media
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