Time for Blue Demons to Fire Up for Texas State
CHICAGO - Watch and see if there is a renewed sense of urgency with DePaul's basketball team when the Blue Demons step onto the Allstate Arena court on Saturday.
The players had promised one another they would not fall into last season's trap of letting a victory get away.
That resolve held up in a 77-56 victory last Sunday over an Illinois-Chicago team that came into Allstate Arena with one win.
Three days later, American University ventured into Allstate with a 1-8 record and stunned the Blue Demons 62-57.
"We were mad because we said that wasn't going to happen this year," Will Walker said.
They get another chance to make good on their promise against Texas State (3-7) in the 1 p.m. game.
"I refuse to believe we were flat because of their record," Wainwright said about the American game. "But, we didn't have that sense of urgency.
"Even though we didn't play well against American, we still fought back and had an opportunity to win at the end. We need to make---and finish---plays."
American was on "Will Walker alert" during crunch time.
"We definitely stood around, especially when the going got tough," Wainwright said. "It was extremely evident that we, as a team, looked to Will Walker to carry us. Guys passed up open shots in the clutch.
"Make no mistake, in crunch time the ball should go through Will. But teams are not going to let Will Walker beat them. When Will is overplayed, someone else has to take the shot.
"Be ready to shoot. Step into the shot."
Eric Wallace, Jeremiah Kelly, Mike Stovall and Mario Stula would be viable options if Walker is blanketed.
"Mario's value to us is as a shooter," Wainwright said. "He has to seek his shot.
"Eric and Mario are both good players, but they have to be more involved in the offense---more aggressive. We need more production out of Mario and Eric.
"It might have been Stovall's best extended minutes against American (four points, four assists, three rebounds, one steal), but he's got to give us more---especially on the offensive end. There's no question he is better than he is playing right now."
There have been times when Walker's teammates have made their mark. Jeremiah Kelly had 18 points and eight rebounds in a 60-52 victory over Northern Iowa, delivering on plays run for him down the stretch.
Wallace had 16 points and six rebounds in a 68-66 overtime victory over Detroit and 15 points, eight rebounds, three steals in a 76-45 loss to Mississippi State.
In his last two games, 6-foot, 9-inch Devin Hill has 28 points, 13 rebounds and six blocks.
Texas State has put up some points this season, including 102 in a victory over Howard Payne and 99 in a triple-overtime loss to Texas Christian. The Bobcats have also scored in the 80s three times.
Their leading scorer is 6-7 Cameron Johnson (11.1 points a game) followed by 6-5 J.B. Conley (10.7 points) and 6-5 John Rybak (10.4 points).