After first stumble, DePaul set to take on Duquesne

NCAA

After seeing its season-opening, six-game winning streak snapped in Saturday’s narrow home loss, DePaul will aim to rebound Tuesday against visiting Duquesne.

The Blue Demons (6-1) are coming off a 68-64 loss to intracity rival Loyola-Chicago. David Jones led the way with 19 points and nine rebounds, while Nick Ongenda added 11 points.

Javon Freeman-Liberty had seven points and chipped in six rebounds, but DePaul was outrebounded 38-31 overall.

“We knew it was going to be a physical game going into it,” Blue Demons coach Tony Stubblefield said. “Again, Loyola’s got a very good team, good program. We just got to continue to get better.”

One takeaway Stubblefield stressed was the effectiveness and tenacity of the team’s smaller lineup, an adjustment the coach made to try to provide a spark when the Ramblers asserted themselves in the early going.

“We play a little differently when we go small, as far as how we play defensively,” Stubblefield said. “The guys did a good job playing (with) a little bit more energy. We got some defensive stops together.”

Duquesne (3-6) has lost two consecutive games. The Dukes began a two-game road trip with Saturday’s 72-71 loss at Marshall, falling on an Andrew Taylor 3-pointer with 10 seconds to go.

Amir Spears was unable to convert a layup on the ensuing possession but finished as Duquesne’s leading scorer with 23 points.

“We’ve shown we can play close, and that were competitive, but we haven’t shown we can win,” Duquesne head coach Keith Dambrot said after a 78-70 loss to Bowling Green on Wednesday, with the same scenario unfolding against Marshall. “We gotta make some changes in order to try to win.”

Marshall’s Taevion Kinsey lauded the Dukes’ tenacity in taking a 17-point lead midway through the game.

“Basketball, it’s not always a finesse game,” Kinsey said. “It’s a physical game.”

Tuesday marks the finale of an eight-game homestand to start the season for DePaul. Then comes a three-consecutive away games at Louisville, Illinois-Chicago and Northwestern before the Blue Demons host Creighton on Dec. 20 to start Big East play.

DePaul leads the all-time series 14-13. The schools are meeting for the first time since Jan. 26, 1991, when the Blue Demons earned a 75-62 victory.

–Field Level Media

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