Kelly's 18 Points, Koshwal's Double-Double Lead DePaul Past Northern Iowa
ST. THOMAS, USVI - A stingy defense down the stretch and clutch free throw shooting by Jeremiah Kelly and Will Walker led DePaul to a 60-52 win over Northern Iowa in the first round of the Paradise Jam on Friday at the UVI Sports and Fitness Center. The Blue Demons advance to the semifinals against the winner of the East Carolina-Tennessee game on Sunday evening at 7 p.m. AT (5 p.m. CT).
Trailing 46-40 with just over nine minutes left in the game, DePaul (2-0) outscored Northern Iowa by a 20-6 margin. Walker started the game-ending run with two free throws before back-to-back three-pointers by Mario Stula and Michael Bizoukas knotted the score at 48 with 5:54 left.
Northern Iowa (1-1) took its last lead of the game on a free throw by Kwadzo Ahelegbe before Mac Koshwal scored in the paint on DePaul's next possession at 4:29. The Panthers had no answer for Koshwal as he grabbed 19 rebounds while adding 12 points, four assists and a blocked shot.
Kelly put the game away with seven straight points while Northern Iowa went scoreless for just over five minutes. After blistering the nets in the first half with seven three-pointers, the Panthers managed just two three's in the second half. Two free throws by Walker iced the game with five seconds remaining on the clock. Kelly and Walker handled all of the free throw shooting duties Friday and combined to go 10-for-13 from the stripe - a stark contrast to DePaul's 9-of-23 effort at the line in the season-opener on Tuesday night.
DePaul trailed by five at halftime after falling behind by as many as 10 points. The Panthers knocked down the first basket of the game before the Blue Demons went on a 9-1 flurry to take a six-point advantage in the first five minutes of the game. Kelly opened the run with a three-pointer before Mike Stovall scored on back-to-back buckets.
The Panthers built a 10-point lead at 27-17 late in the first half before DePaul closed the opening frame with a 10-5 to cut the deficit in half. Koshwal got warmed up with a pair of inside baskets that were sandwiched by three-pointers from Kelly and Stovall. Stovall's three on DePaul's final possession pulled the Blue Demons to 32-27 before a final defensive stand that forced a bad shot at the buzzer for the Panthers.
Kelly finished with career-high totals of 18 points and eight rebounds to go along with Koshwal's second double-double in as many games this season. Stovall and Walker added nine points each while Stula added five points. Eric Wallace gathered seven rebounds as the Blue Demons outrebounded the Panthers, 44-31.
Sunday's action will be televised on Fox College Sports (FCS) while Laurence Holmes and Stephen Howard will be calling the action live courtside on Blue Tube at www.depaulbluedemons.com.