DePaul Drops Road Game at Illinois
Nov. 17, 2017

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Justin Roberts scored 19 points off the bench and DePaul put four players in double-figures, but the Blue Demons couldn't overcome Illinois in an 82-73 decision Friday night in Champaign. The meeting was the final matchup of the Gavitt Tipoff Games between the BIG EAST and Big Ten Conferences.

A layup by Brandon Cyrus pushed DePaul ahead, 15-13, midway through the first half before Illinois scored nine of the game's next 11 points. Two free throws by Mark Smith gave the Illini a 22-17 advantage with just over eight minutes left until intermission.

Illinois (3-0) led by as many as 10 points before taking a 39-32 advantage at halftime.

A three-pointer by Smith gave Illinois an 11-point lead before DePaul stormed back and cut the deficit to just two points on a steal and score by Roberts with just under 14 minutes left in the game. However, the Illini answered and pushed their lead back to nine over the next two-plus minutes.

DePaul (1-2) didn't go away and moved to within a possession at 66-63 on two free throws by Max Strus with 6:51 left, but that was as close as the Blue Demons would get for the remainder of the evening.

Roberts added five assists and five rebounds in 33 minutes of action while Strus scored 15 points and grabbed five boards. Marin Maric added 12 points and five rebounds and Cyrus finished with 11 points for the Blue Demons.

Smith led all scorers with 21 points and Kipper Nichols added 16 points for Illinois.

DePaul travels to Portland, Ore. next week for the PK80 Invitational. The Blue Demons face No. 2/2 Michigan State in the first game of the event on Thanksgiving night. Start time is 10:30 p.m. CT on ESPN and 670 The Score.

Postgame Notes
- The 19 points by Justin Roberts are the most by a freshman since Eli Cain scored 22 at Providence on Feb. 27, 2016.
- Tre'Darius McCallum went scoreless for just the second time in his career... he was also held scoreless at Northwestern on Dec. 3, 2016 in Evanston.
- DePaul is 0-3 in three Gavitt Tipoff Games appearances.
- Illinois leads the series, 13-6... Friday was the first meeting since Dec. 7, 1957.
- DePaul is 84-79 all-time against the current lineup of Big Ten programs... the Blue Demons face Michigan State next Thursday and Northwestern on Dec. 16.



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