DePaul ties Roman CBI Finals at one game apiece
April 3, 2019
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CHICAGO – DePaul withstood injuries and a fierce South Florida comeback before emerging with a 100-96 overtime victory to force a decisive Game 3 in the Finals of the Roman College Basketball Invitational.
Max Strus (pictured) paced DePaul with 32 points, 20 of which he scored in the first half primarily on 6-of-8 shooting from 3-point range. Paul Reed posted 28 points and 16 rebounds and Femi Olujobi had 14 points.
The Blue Demons played the majority of the game without starting guard Eli Cain, who went down with 7:26 to play in the first half with an injured arm. Then toward the end of regulation, starting forward Jaylen Butz sustained an apparent shoulder injury that ended his night and forced DePaul to essentially play with just five players.
Despite the injuries, DePaul shot 36-of-72 from the field and turned 19 USF turnovers into 24 points.
USF was led by Laquincy Rideau, who tallied a game and career-high 35 points after scoring just four in the first half. Rideau was 11-of-17 from the field, including 7-of-8 from three. He also handed out eight assists and had four steals. Alexis Yetna recorded 26 points and 13 rebounds, Justin Brown had 13 points, and David Collins netted 12 points to go with six assists.
After shooting 13-of-30 in the first half, USF was 16-of-28 in the second half as it mounted its comeback. Trailing 46-35 at intermission after DePaul closed the first half on an 11-2 run, the Bulls, who came from 25 down to beat Stony Brook in the First Round of the Roman CBI, overcame a deficit that peaked at 15 points before sending the game in extra time knotted at 82 apiece. In overtime, the Bulls grew cold, shooting just 5-of-15 from the field and 2-of-4 from the line. DePaul, on the other hand, was 5-of-7 from the field and 8-of-13 from the line.
The 100 points scored by DePaul marks the fourth time this season the Blue Demons have hit the century mark, including the second time in the CBI. DePaul tallied 100 in taking down Central Michigan, 100-86, in the First Round.
The Roman CBI Finals best-of-three series continues in Chicago with Game 3 on Friday and DePaul hoping history repeats itself. The last three Roman CBI champions have lost the first game on the road and returned home to win the next two with North Texas (2018), Wyoming (2017), and Nevada (2016) each accomplishing that feat. In the previous 11 CBI Finals, the series has gone to a decisive third game nine times, with the home team winning seven of those games. Only Oregon State (2009) and Santa Clara (2013) have won Game 3 on the road.
The Finals will air on ESPNU with Roy Philpott and Tim McCormick calling the action.
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About the Gazelle Group
The College Basketball Invitational is produced by the Gazelle Group of Princeton, N.J. The Gazelle Group is a sports marketing firm, specializing in event production and management, client representation, and sponsorship consulting. Gazelle produces numerous nationally-recognized events, such as the Empire Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project, Legends Classic presented by Old Trapper, the Sunshine Slam, and the Gotham Classic. For more information on the Gazelle Group, please visit gazellegroup.com
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