Seton Hall’s comeback falls short in upset loss to DePaul

CHICAGO — Jalen Terry scored 28 points, David Jones added 24 and DePaul stunned No. 20 Seton Hall with a 96-92 victory on Thursday.

Javon Freeman-Liberty also scored 12 points, giving the Blue Demons (10-6, 1-5 Big East) easily their biggest win of the season. Freeman-Liberty, the conference’s leading scorer, aggravated a groin injury he had been playing through early in the second half and limped off the court. He returned shortly after, but played sparingly down the stretch.

Despite losing their best player, the Blue Demons still hung on to secure a much-needed signature win.

“I’m proud of the team and the resilience that they showed,” DePaul coach Tony Stubblefield said. “Obviously, we’ve been hit with some adversity. Our guys have had the sticktoitiveness, where they stuck together as a team, stayed positive and just continued to try to get better. That’s something we’ve been preaching to these young men.”

The loss serves as a significant setback for the Pirates (11-4, 2-3) as they attempt to gain ground in conference standings. Jared Rhoden led Seton Hall with 25 points, with Bryce Aiken adding 22 more.

Jalen Terry led all scorers with 28 points.
AP

The Blue Demons were upset-minded right from the get-go. Freeman-Liberty scored six quick points in the first five minutes, helping DePaul open the half on an 18-6 scoring run. The Blue Demons also tallied seven first half steals.

“We came out and reverted back to taking too many pull-up jumpers,” Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard said. “It’s mind boggling some of the shots that we take. This is a good group, and they have a lot of heart, but I just don’t know if we had the level of respect that we should’ve had for a very good DePaul team.”

Seton Hall clawed back to within six, but was unable to trim its deficit any further. Jones scored two breakaway layups off a pair of steals in the final two minutes of the first to boost DePaul’s lead to 16. Freeman-Liberty added two free throws to give the Blue Demons a 52-35 advantage at halftime.

Freeman-Liberty’s injury initially threatened to derail DePaul’s momentum in the second half, as did a pair of early baskets from Rhoden and Tray Jackson. But Terry quickly hit back-to-back jumpers to give DePaul breathing room.

Seton Hall strung together a late rally to cut the deficit to two with 5.8 seconds left, but Terry iced the game for DePaul with a pair of free throws. He attributed his ability to sink the clutch shots to a recent practice session.

David Jones
David Jones celebrates after DePaul’s win over Seton Hall.
AP

“At practice, coach made us shoot 50 free throws,” Terry said. “I shot 50 for 50. The way you practice translates to the game.”

The Blue Demons led for all but 31 seconds of the game and never trailed.