Men's Hoops Host Alabama State
CHICAGO - The DePaul Blue Demons close the two-game homestand with a Wednesday night game against the Alabama State Hornets. DePaul opened the two-game run with a 68-66 overtime win over Detroit on Saturday afternoon at Allstate Arena.
The Blue Demons are 4-1 early in the season following a third-place finish at the Paradise Jam in the U.S. Virgin Islands sandwiched by a season-opening win over Columbia on Nov. 17 and the victory over Detroit on Nov. 28. DePaul knocked off Northern Iowa in the first round of the Paradise Jam before a four-point loss to No. 10/11 Tennessee in the semifinals. The Blue Demons came back on Monday and defeated Saint Joseph's in the consolation game. Senior guard Will Walker was named to the All-Tournament team after averaging 16.0 points and 4.3 rebounds per game in the three games.
Wednesday's game is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. start and can be heard and seen live on Blue Tube at www.depaulbluedemons.com. Zach Zaidman (play-by-play) and Steve Olken (analyst) call all of the action from courtside at Allstate Arena. In-game scoring updates and notes can also be found at www.twitter.com/depaulsid.
Following the Alabama State game, the Blue Demons make a run through the SEC starting Saturday at Vanderbilt. The game in Nashville will be DePaul's first true road game before facing Mississippi State on Dec. 10 at the SEC/BIG EAST Invitational in Tampa, Fla.
Noting the Blue Demons: The men's basketball program is 1,361-815 (.626) all-time... the Blue Demons have knocked down at least one three-pointer in 495 straight games... DePaul's last game without a three was Feb. 16, 1993 against UAB at Allstate Arena... Will Walker has started 38 straight games... the win over Columbia in the season opener ended an 18-game losing streak in regular-season games... the Blue Demons have won four of their first five games in two straight seasons... in three of Jerry Wainwright's four seasons at DePaul, the Blue Demons have defeated at least one top 25 opponent... DePaul has played its first home game on Nov. 17 in each of the last four seasons.
Opponent No. 6 - Alabama State Hornets: Alabama State enters the game on Wednesday in the midst of a week-long road trip that started with an 82-55 loss at Tulane on Monday night... following Wednesday's game, the Hornets move on to a Saturday date at Evansville... Alabama State is 1-3 through four games this season... Menji Mundadi and Tramayne Moorer lead the team with 10.8 points per game each... Ivory White leads all rebounders with 6.0 boards per game to go along with a 4.3 scoring average... head coach Lewis Jackson is in his fifth season at Alabama State.
The Series: Wednesday's game is the third all-time meeting between the two programs... DePaul holds a 2-0 advantage in the series... DePaul won the first meeting, 58-34, at Alumni Hall on Nov. 17, 1997... a year later, the Blue Demons held off the Hornets, 78-74, in Montgomery on Nov. 22, 1998.
Against the SWAC: DePaul is 5-0 all-time against the current lineup of Southwestern Athletic Conference programs... the Blue Demons have claimed wins over Alcorn State, Jackson State and Southern in addition to Alabama State... DePaul defeated Southern, 83-46, at Allstate Arena last season on Dec. 19, 2008.
It Could Happen: A win will be No. 299 for DePaul at Allstate Arena... Jeremiah Kelly needs seven assists for 100 in his career... Will Walker's next three-pointer gives him sole possession of fifth all-time... he enters the game tied with Peter Patton (1992-96) with 134 career three's.
Demon Doings: Notes following DePaul's 68-66 overtime win over Detroit on Nov. 28:
Walker Named to Honor Roll: DePaul's Will Walker was named to the Weekly Honor Roll by the BIG EAST Conference for the week of Nov. 30. The senior guard led the Blue Demons to wins over Saint Joseph's and Detroit while averaging 22.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per game.
Walker went 6-for-12 (.500) from three-point range and was named to the Paradise Jam All-Tournament team. Saturday's win over Detroit marked Walker's 10th career game with at least 20 points as he led the Blue Demons with 20 points in 41 minutes of action. His three-pointer with 49 seconds left in overtime gave DePaul the lead for good in the 68-66 win over the Titans. He opened the week with a season-high 25 points in the consolation-game win over Saint Joseph's to give the Blue Demons a third-place finish. Walker also added seven rebounds against the Hawks.
West Virginia's Da'Sean Butler was named the BIG EAST Player of the Week while Hollis Thompson of Georgetown earned Rookie of the Week honors. Joining Walker on the Honor Roll is Cincinnati's Yancy Gates, Lazar Hayward of Marquette, D.J. Kennedy from St. John's and USF's Augustus Gilchrist.
The Defense Rests: Through the first four games of the season, the DePaul defense held each opponent to less than 60 points. The last team to accomplish the feat was in Ray Meyer's last season as head coach of the Blue Demons. Meyer's squad posted four straight sub-60 games from Mar. 1-10, 1984.
Protecting the Ball: The Blue Demons are averaging just 10.4 turnovers per game through five games this season. DePaul's three primary point guards - Michael Bizoukas, Jeremiah Kelly and Will Walker - hold a combined 2.3-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. Kelly has totaled 17 assists to just three turnovers in 32.8 minutes per game this season. His 5.67-to-1 ratio leads the BIG EAST ahead of Providence's Vincent Council at 3.60-to-1 ratio.
Recapping the Paradise Jam: DePaul finished in third place at the 2009 Paradise Jam at the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Blue Demons knocked off Missouri Valley Conference favorite Northern Iowa in the first round by a 60-52 score before falling, 57-53, to No. 10/11 Tennessee in the semifinals. DePaul trailed by just two in the final minute against the Volunteers after trailing by as many as 12 points early in the second half. DePaul closed the tournament with a 58-51 win over Saint Joseph's in the consolation game.
Senior guard Will Walker was named to the All-Tournament team after averaging 16.0 points and 4.3 rebounds in the three games. Purdue claimed the tournament title with a 73-72 win over Tennessee.
Three Decades in Rosemont: DePaul is in its 30th season in 2009-10 at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill. The Blue Demons are 298-113 (.725) all-time in Rosemont. DePaul University played its first season in 1980-81 at the then-named Rosemont Horizon. The Blue Demons debuted in Rosemont with a 74-56 win over Gonzaga and John Stockton on Dec. 1, 1980.
Ranked Opponents: The Blue Demons are scheduled to take on some of the nation's top programs this season. Entering this week's action, the most recent top 25's feature eight opponents on the 2009-10 schedule.