DePaul junior Jeremiah Kelly was disgusted with losing.
Game after game, DePaul was being beaten in the Big East, and Kelly was fed up with it. He put part of the blame on himself. He wasn’t being aggressive enough. He wasn’t scoring enough.
Kelly decided to do something about it. The past two games, he has completely changed his mentality. As he described it, he shoots then thinks. He’s become the aggressor.
The results have been remarkable for both Kelly and DePaul. He drained four 3-pointers and scored a career-high 23 points to lead DePaul to a win over Providence on Thursday, snapping the Blue Demons’ 25-game conference losing streak. Two days later, he set another new career-high, dropping 25 points and knocking down seven 3-pointers in an overtime loss to Villanova.
“I just hate losing,” Kelly said. “Losing hurts. I just want to do whatever it takes for the team to win. If it takes me to score 20 points, I’m going to do it. If it takes me to get 20 rebounds or dive on the floor, I’m going to do whatever it takes. I just want to win.”
Kelly hadn’t scored in double figures in back-to-back games his entire DePaul career. The last time he did so was playing in prep school at American Christian.
“It’s been a long time,” Kelly said. “Coach told me to be more aggressive. My job for this team is to shoot, make plays.”
DePaul coach Oliver Purnell is pleased Kelly has been listening to him.
“He’s been aggressive, being really aggressive,” Purnell said. “He’s playing with a lot of confidence. I think it comes down to that.”
King of the state: Illinois State has had a rough season like most of the teams in Illinois. But where the Redbirds have excelled is against in-state opponents.
With Tuesday’s win over Bradley, Illinois State improved its record to 5-1 against in-state teams. The Redbirds have wins over Bradley (twice), Southern Illinois, Southern Illinois-Edwardsville and UIC.
Illinois State reserve forward Jackie Carmichael has scored 33 points and grabbed 30 rebounds in his team's two wins against Bradley. For the season, he averages 9.8 points and 5.3 rebounds.
Rediscovering his touch: Northwestern’s John Shurna is returning to his old form after battling a variety of injuries.
Shurna is coming off back-to-back games in which he has scored in double figures and hit multiple 3-pointers. He shot 5 of 13, including four 3-pointers, and scored 15 points against Iowa. He followed that up with a 6-for-10 shooting performance, including three 3-pointers and 19 points against Indiana.
His seven 3-pointers in his last two games are the most he’s had in consecutive games since December.
3-point record: Loyola senior guard Geoff McCammon broke the school’s single-season 3-point record on Saturday. His 78th 3-pointer of the season surpassed Derek Molis’ previous record.
Scoring lull: Northern Illinois senior Xavier Silas has dropped to No. 8 in the country in scoring at 22.8 points a game.
In his last two games, Silas scored seven points against Western Michigan and six points against Seattle University. It’s the first time he was held to under double figures in consecutive games this season.