CHICAGO — The DePaul Blue Demons played host to the Delaware State Hornets on Monday evening as they looked for their first victory in the new Wintrust Arena in Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood. The Blue Demons dropped the inaugural game at the new building this past weekend, suffering a 72-58 loss to the 14th ranked Fighting Irish of Notre Dame on Saturday.
Devin Gage got the Blue Demons off on the right foot on Monday night with a steal and a lay-up at the opposite end on the opening possession by Delaware State. Max Strus got on the score sheet early with a lay-up to give DePaul a 7-0 lead and then added a three-pointer to stretch the lead to 10-3 after five minutes of play.
The opening minutes were a precursor for the rest of the first half as the Blue Demons dominated Delaware State on both ends of the floor the entire opening half.
DePaul would cruise into the half with a comfortable 35-21 lead over the Hornets of Delaware State as Max Strus and Tre’Darius McCallum each scored seven points in the first half to lead the Blue Demons in scoring. The lead would have been much greater if not for a 1 for 11 shooting funk that DePaul experienced for a stretch of about four minutes towards the end of the first half.
The Blue Demons were led by freshman forward Jaylen Butz on the glass in the first half as the Fort Wayne, Indiana native grabbed eight rebounds. DePaul shot 36.7 percent from the field and 27.3 percent from beyond the three-point arc in the first half while Delaware State shot a dismal 24 percent from the field.
The second half featured multiple extended scoring runs by the Blue Demons as they ran away with this contest easily defeating Delaware State 81-57 on Monday night to earn their first victory in the new Wintrust Arena and improve to 1-1 on the season. Tre’Darius McCallum led the Blue Demons in scoring as he logged 17 points on 7-12 shooting from the field and an impressive 3-5 from beyond the three-point arc. McCallum grabbed six rebounds as well in 31 minutes of action on Monday night.
Max Strus was much improved from this weekend in his shot efficiency, hitting six of eight from the field and one of three from three-point territory on his way to a 15-point performance that included five rebounds. Jaylen Butz was all over the glass for the Blue Demons, recording 13 rebounds in 17 minutes on the floor. Both Strus and McCallum were highly impressed with the freshman’s performance on the glass tonight in the post game press conference.
Eli Cain and Devin Gage added 11 and 10 points respectively on the night, but Gage gave the home crowd a scare when he came up limping after driving to the basket with 4:52 remaining in the second half. Gage would leave the game for the night and Head Coach Dave Leitao said in the post game press conference that he hasn’t yet checked on the knee of Gage, but believes he likely “just tweaked it”.
The Blue Demons looked very good in stretches tonight, but will need to be much more consistent moving forward, especially with match-ups on the road against Illinois and at Michigan State right around the corner.