ROSEMONT, Ill. — DePaul skipped the thrills and instead concentrated on playing 40 consistent minutes of basketball Tuesday.
Blue Demons guard Billy Garrett said there were a few problematic minutes, but it is hard to quibble as DePaul claimed an 80-62 non-conference victory over Drake in its Allstate Arena home opener.
“We wanted to come out today and jump out on them,” said Garrett, who collected a team-high 15 points. “We emphasized playing hard and doing the little things throughout the 40 minutes. And I think we played pretty hard, played pretty well for about 35 minutes. … The consistency is encouraging.”
Forward Myke Henry added 13 points as the Blue Demons claimed a 2-0 opening record for the first time in three seasons.
DePaul trailed once early in the game and then used effective perimeter shooting to build a 38-25 halftime advantage.
The Blue Demons led by as many as 20 points in the second half and the margin never slipped under double digits as forward Jamee Crockett scored 12 points, forward Forrest Robinson had 11 and guard Durrell McDonald added 10.
Drake forward Chris Caird scored 19 points, while guard Jordan Daniels added 17 points and four assists for the Bulldogs (0-2).
“Jordan settled down and made the extra pass and in turn he found himself getting open looks,” Drake coach Ray Giacoletti said. “He settled down and got into a nice rhythm. It comes back 10-fold if you make a nice pass to someone else.”
In last Saturday’s 72-71 season-opening victory over Illinois-Chicago, the Blue Demons saw a 16-point halftime advantage vanish and needed Garrett’s game-winning 3-pointer to secure the win.
“We wanted to close out the game,” DePaul coach Oliver Purnell said. “We didn’t want to let up like we did in the first game.”
The Blue Demons shot 55.1 percent (27-of-49) from the field, including 9-of-20 (45 percent) on 3-point tries. After hitting just 32.1 percent in the opening half, the Bulldogs’ shooting improved and they closed with 23-of-54 (42.6 percent). DePaul outrebounded Drake 33-26.
DePaul sprinted to an early 21-8 lead behind 4-of-8 shooting from beyond the arc, including a pair of 3-pointers from McDonald.
Drake replied with a 14-7 surge — including back-to-back Caird 3-pointers — that cut the DePaul lead to 27-22. The Blue Demons went on an 11-3 run through the final 4:34 for a 38-25 halftime lead.
Also Tuesday at Allstate Arena, the No. 18 DePaul women (3-1) beat in-state rival Bradley 101-77 as six Blue Demons hit double figures led by Brittany Hrynko’s 19 points. Fantasia Vine had 13 the Braves (0-2).
“When you get it back to what we had in the second half, you have to be able to get stops,” Giacoletti said. “Those are things you have to be able to do collectively as a group and get stops. We’re undermanned right now without two seniors, and we’re trying to hold this together and get young guys better.”
NOTES: Last week’s decision over Illinois-Chicago was DePaul’s seventh straight season-opening win. The Blue Demons are 81-11 all-time in the season’s first game. … The Blue Demons are off for eight days for exams before hosting Lehigh in a Nov. 26 non-conference game. … Drake, predicted to finish ninth in the Missouri Valley Conference, fell 77-58 in last Saturday’s season opener against Bowling Green. Freshmen impressed in that game as G Reed Timmer paced the Bulldogs with a team-high 16 points and G C.J. Rivers pulled down six rebounds. … Drake’s Jacob Enevold Jensen played for the Nordic champion Danish national Under-20 team in 2014. … Drake travels to Western Michigan on Saturday.
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