CHICAGO – Here’s a quick look at DePaul’s 69-58 win over Loyola on Wednesday.
How it happened: DePaul nearly had an epic collapse. After leading 47-17 at halftime, the Blue Demons had to scratch out the win in the end. Loyola went to a 1-3-1 zone in the second half, and DePaul struggled the rest of the way. Loyola’s Walt Gibler put on an extraordinary performance in the second half, too, to make it a game. He finished with a game-high 29 points.
What it means: DePaul hasn’t had an easy time in recent years with local teams, and that continued to be the case again Wednesday. Loyola and UIC have given the Blue Demons’ games recently. DePaul isn’t normally recruiting the same players as those programs, but it still doesn’t look good when the Blue Demons are struggling against the area’s other mid-major teams. For Loyola, it showed a lot of fight to come back in the second half. The Ramblers could have easily fallen even deeper into a hole after trailing by 30 points at halftime.
Outside the box: DePaul appeared to be doing Loyola a favor by playing at the Ramblers’ newly-renovated Gentile Center. The Blue Demons could have never expected to get the scare they did. Loyola lost its starting backcourt before the season and is in complete rebuilding mode. The loss looks before for Loyola than the win does for DePaul.
Player of the game: Gibler had one of those games players dream about. Everything he touched seemed to find the net. He scored 21 points in the second half. He wasn’t the most skilled player on the floor, but he proved to be best on Wednesday.
What’s next: DePaul faces its second consecutive in-state opponent as its host Chicago State on Saturday. Loyola travels to Toledo on Saturday.