Blue Demons Drop BIG EAST Opener to Villanova
Dec. 27, 2017

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CHICAGO -- DePaul put five players in double figures, but No. 1/1 Villanova proved worthy of its ranking in a 103-85 win over the Blue Demons on Wednesday night.  Max Strus scored 20 points and Marin Maric added 17 to lead the Blue Demons.

The Blue Demons started slow going almost three minutes without scoring a basket. Strus kicked it off with a three-point shot from the top of the key and Cain followed with floater, but Villanova jumped out to an early 11-5 lead as a media timeout stopped action with 15:29 left to go in the first.

Halfway through the first half, the Wildcats went on a quick 6-0 run over a timespan of 1:11. However, DePaul answered going 4-for-4 to cut the deficit to nine with 8:32 left to play. The momentum continued with a forced turnover from Paul Reed that turned into a basket from Maric that pulled DePaul to within seven points at 28-21 with just over eight minutes left in the first half.

Villanova (13-0, 1-0 BIG EAST) took control of the game over the remainder of the first half and went into intermission holding a 48-33 lead.

The Wildcats extended their late first-half run into the second half by scoring 11 straight points to push their advantage over 20 points.

Strus led DePaul with 20 points, nine rebounds and six assists while Maric tallied his second double-double in a Blue Demon uniform with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Jaylen Butz and Eli Cain each finished with 11 and Tre'Darius McCallum contributed 10. DePaul (7-6, 0-1 BIG EAST) outrebounded Villanova, 50-32, that saw McCallum total seven rebounds and Butz finish with six boards.

Villanova put seven players in double-figures with 20 points from Mikal Bridges leading the way for the Wildcats.

The Blue Demons go on the road Saturday at No. 6/5 Xavier. Start time between the Blue Demons and Musketeers is scheduled for 1 p.m. CT on FS1 and 670 The Score.

Postgame Notes

  • DePaul put five players in double figure for the third time this season... at least four have reached double figures in 10 of 13 games this season.
  • The 52 second-half points marked the first 50-point half of the season for the Blue Demons.
  • The Blue Demons are 3-21 all-time against the No. 1-ranked team... Villanova has been the last three No. 1-ranked opponents for DePaul.
  • Jaylen Butz matched his career high with 11 points.
  • Marin Maric's 17-point, 10-rebound double-double is his second at DePaul and 29th of his career.
  • Max Strus' 20 points marked the sixth time in last eight games he has scored at least 20 points.
  • Villanova leads the series, 25-8... the Wildcats have won 15 straight in the series.



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