DePaul hosts Butler in search of first Big East win

NCAA Men's Basketball

A late 13-point deficit Saturday against No. 8 Creighton couldn’t capsize Butler, which rallied for a 70-66 overtime victory to snap a two-game skid.

Butler won despite enduring a 26-3 Bluejays run in the second half.

“It was just about our energy,” the Bulldogs’ Aaron Thompson said. “Coach got on us about changing our attitude, and then we kind of flipped the script on them.”

Butler will aim to engineer another happy ending — and ideally a less adversarial beginning — when it travels to face DePaul on Tuesday night. Still, should the Bulldogs (4-7, 3-5 Big East) encounter any snags, they can always try to channel the stuff of their comeback against Creighton.

“Sometimes it’s just heart and effort,” Butler coach LaVall Jordan said. “I loved our battle and our resilience. When we were down 13, I told them this was a gut check moment. And the level of ownership was what we have seen the last two days at practice, and that translated to the game.”

Thompson scored 17 points while accounting for 21 of the team’s final 25, scoring nine and assisting on 12 points. He played just shy of 41 minutes in his third game back since recovering from a knee sprain.

Myles Tate posted a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds while Chuck Harris scored 10 points after missing Tuesday’s loss to St. John’s with a bruised knee. Ball control also boosted the Bulldogs, who had just seven turnovers after committing 16 against St. John’s.

DePaul (2-4, 0-4) ended a four-game losing streak with Saturday’s 77-58 nonconference win against Valparaiso.

Romeo Weems paced the Blue Demons with 20 points on 8-of-14 shooting and impressed coach Dave Leitao with his play on both ends.

“He has the opportunity to be not good, not great, but a very elite level defender in a lot of positions,” Leitao said. “He rebounded better, he was around the basket on both ends and then he shot the ball obviously pretty well.”

The Blue Demons are set to play four of their next five at home and hope to rebound from a rough conference start that stemmed from a nonconference season severely curtailed by numerous COVID-19-related postponements.

“I’m not sure we’ve been through the worst of times compared to everybody else, but … the (players) have been through more than anybody could imagine,” Leitao said. “So, I give them a ton of credit.”

–Field Level Media

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