Considering the way Connecticut has fared against DePaul of late, there’s a good chance that coach Dan Hurley’s squad will keep the good times rolling in Monday night’s Big East contest in Chicago.
After extending their winning streak in the series to nine games with a win over the Blue Demons last month, the Huskies are aiming for a fourth consecutive victory overall.
UConn (6-1, 3-1) suffered its lone defeat this season 76-74 in overtime to a top-10 Creighton team in the league opener on Dec. 20. Since then, the Huskies have won three straight by an average of 14.7 points. The run began with an 82-61 rout of DePaul (1-3, 0-3) on Dec. 30.
Tyrese Martin had 22 points and 10 rebounds and James Bouknight (20.3 points per game) scored 20 as UConn shot 49.2 percent and held a 43-33 edge on the boards in that meeting. The Blue Demons, meanwhile, shot 38.1 percent and went 4 of 17 from 3-point range.
Bouknight, one of the Big East’s top scorers, missed Saturday’s 72-60 win at Butler with an elbow issue and there was no update on his status as of Sunday.
But Hurley is confident he has enough talent and depth to succeed without his star, as was the case against Butler, when Tyler Polley (10.2 points per game) had 19 points off the bench, and Martin (9.3 points, 8.5 rebounds) scored 15.
“We’ve got a lot of guys that can step up and bring it on any given night,” Hurley said. “(On Saturday, we showed) as a program that we are able to focus and compartmentalize and play a winning style of basketball.”
The latter has certainly been the case against DePaul. The Huskies have not lost to the Blue Demons since January 2007 and have won the last seven meetings by an average of 19 points.
DePaul opened its season, which was delayed by COVID-19 issues until Dec. 23, with a 91-72 win over Western Illinois. Then Big East play began, and the Blue Demons have been winless. Aside from the UConn loss, however, DePaul has been much more competitive — falling in double-overtime at Providence and then shaking off a 12-point halftime deficit to make a game of things during Saturday’s 76-68 loss to Seton Hall.
“We’ve got to keep working,” DePaul coach Dave Leitao said. “We’re very much a work in progress.”
Javon Freeman-Liberty (15.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists per game) had 22 points, but the Blue Demons allowed Seton Hall to shoot 52 percent.
Freeman-Liberty was held to nine points on 4-of-13 shooting at UConn last month.
–Field Level Media