Diener Drives Men's Basketball Past Memphis
ROSEMONT, Ill. – DePaul played perhaps its best half of basketball and used it to post its first Conference USA win of the season by beating Memphis 82-73 on Tuesday at the Allstate Arena.
The win moved the Blue Demons to 8-6 overall and 1-2 in C-USA play while Memphis dropped to 9-4 and 0-2.
The Blue Demons were keyed by junior Drake Diener who tossed in a career-high 27 points, including six three-point field goals (all in the first half). Senior Delonte Holland added 20 points while freshman Sammy Mejia added 14 points and nine assists.
Memphis was led by Sean Banks, 22 points and nine rebounds.
DePaul never trailed in the game and came out of the gates flying led by Diener’s 20 first half points. The Blue Demon lead was as big as 24 points on two occasions before Dave Leitao’s crew took a 50-29 advantage into halftime.
The lead stayed at double digits for most of the second half before the Tigers whittled the lead down to seven at 76-69 with 1:03 to play. Memphis would twice more cut the lead to seven but that was as close as it would get as Holland, who scored 13 points in the second stanza, nailed four free throws in the game’s final minute to ice the victory.
DePaul plays again on Saturday as UAB comes to the Allstate Arena for an 11 a.m. game on ESPN+. Memphis hosts Charlotte on Saturday.
Diener’s six three-point field goals tied the most by a DePaul player at the Allstate Arena (Joe Tulley vs. Temple in 2001) and was tied for the second-best single-game performance in DePaul history with Brad Niemann and Joe Tulley who accomplished the feat twice… Memphis’ 37 three-point attempts set a school record… the victory was DePaul’s first over Memphis at Rosemont since March, 1994.
“As of late Coach (Dave Leitao) has not said much, but I am told all of the time that I have to shoot more. As of late he was not harping on it. I got good shots off some penetration, which makes it hard on the defense when you get open looks.”
“Our defense was playing well so it took pressure off of our offense. It also took pressure off the borderline shots that we would normally take.”
“We can definitely do this again. This win is good for next game, we have confidence, we feel good about ourselves, and we have to work hard and work on finishing off the game.”
“We were looking for everybody that was open. Be you, play the game, and you will find the guy that is open.”
“Overall we were just better and we felt better today.”
“Today I felt we, as a team, were more confident and we saw the outcome. Everyone got excited and we thought to each other that we can do this every game.”
“We got tentative towards the end, but we stayed aggressive. We tried not to get on our heels and have them take control of the game.”
“Our overall intensity is everything we do, we do hard.”
“The zone bothered Memphis and it kept them on their heels. We stayed aggressive and got the positive outcome.”
Head Coach Dave Leitao
“I am very happy and pleased of the outcome of the game against a great team and that has experience on the road.”
“Our mentality was excellent and we were going to throw the first punch. Yesterday and today we were answering questions about why Drake (Diener) does not get more shots. He got more shots today because he played aggressively. I am very pleased and proud of him.”
“You are in a 0-2 (in Conference play) situation, that you do not want to be in, with our backs against the wall, and so we played much better mentally and physically.”
“I told them how I felt about how they played, but the funny thing about it is, you are a pretty good team and we have opponents to play better than how we have played.”
“If we get on the same page mentally, we can get better and we have to strive to do that everyday. Everything that we do must be on the same page because it builds up trust and commrodery, those things being what good teams need.”
“Drake only got 12 shots up tonight and he really didn’t shoot the ball much, but he let the game come to him. He could have had 35 points but we didn’t do a good job at finding him towards the end of the game.”
“If any coach can predict what his team is going to do then I will put him in the hall of fame now. I will go into to the office tomorrow and watch film. I will get prepared for a quality team and get ready for a quality opponent.”