Whatever has changed for Billy Garrett, Jr. from the first two games is working as the senior is playing as well as he ever has for DePaul, which closes a season-opening five-game homestand Wednesday against Drake. Garrett scored a season-high 23 points and made the winning shot as time expired against Missouri State to give the Blue Demons their third victory.
Garrett opened the season by going 3-of-21 from the field and scoring 15 points total against Robert Morris and Rutgers, but he is 13-of-29 with 43 points in the two games since. Perhaps it is something as simple as being aggressive like the 6-6 guard was while scoring 21 of his 23 points in the second half against Missouri State. “I’ll live and die with the mistakes and I’ll live and die with our results, if we just bring the game to the other team,” coach Dave Leitao told the media. “And I thought they were bringing it to us.” One place Garrett has been consistent all season is at the foul line, where he made a season-high 8-of-8 against Missouri State to remain perfect on 21 attempts, which is second nationally to Iowa’s Peter Jok (24). The Bulldogs, meanwhile, have already played six games, losing three straight and five overall.
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ABOUT DRAKE (1-5): After junior guard Reed Timmer’s 16 points per game, the scoring drops off a cliff for the Bulldogs, falling nearly 10 points per game to the trio of Graham Woodward, Billy Wampler and De‘Antae McMurray - all at 6.3. Ray Giacoletti’s teams struggles to score and rebound, which has helped contribute to losses to such teams as South Dakota, Iona and Alaska Anchorage. Trimmer scored a career-high 30 points in last year’s 74-71 home loss to DePaul and he may need to repeat the feat for the Bulldogs to stay competitive in this one.
ABOUT DEPAUL (3-1): Garrett’s resurgence hasn’t affected the play of sophomore Eli Cain, who matched career-highs of nine field goals and 16 attempts against Missouri State while keeping alive his perfect record of 20-point games this season. Cain has also been more active on the boards, grabbing 13 rebounds in the past two games after coming up with two boards in the first two contests. Tre‘Darius McCallum still leads the Blue Demons in rebounding at 8.5 per game after notching his first career double-double against the Bears.
1. Garrett has had back-to-back 20-point games three times in his career and only once has he done so in three straight games, which came in the middle of last season.
2. With 971 career points, Timmer is on course to becoming Drake’s 24th 1,000-point scorer.
3. Garrett led DePaul in scoring in both games as the Blue Demons defeated the Bulldogs in each of the past two seasons to take a 6-2 lead in the series.
PREDICTION: DePaul 78, Drake 64