DePaul gets their first win over a Top 5 team since 2006 as they knock off Butler

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - JANUARY 18: Charlie Moore #11 of the DePaul Blue Demons controls the ball against Aaron Thompson #2 of the Butler Bulldogs during the first half at Wintrust Arena on January 18, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

CHICAGO – Following a memorable non-conference season when they won 12 of 13 games, Dave Leitao’s team had a bit of a letdown to start an important conference season for the program.

With dreams of a first NCAA Tournament since 2004, the Blue Demons stumbled out of the gate in the Big East, dropping their first four games by less than ten points. It took some of the shine off the team after their great start to the season, but they got a little bit of it back on Saturday afternoon.

In what could be regarded as their best effort of the season, the Blue Demons ran past No. 5 Butler at Wintrust Arena over the course of 40 minutes, beating the Bulldogs 79-66 for a first Big East victory.

The triumph is also the first for DePaul over at Top 5 team since they beat fifth-ranked Kansas on December 2, 2006 at All-State Arena. That season, the Blue Demons would post their last winning record until the 2018-2019 campaign, and this win helps the Blue Demons get closer to that achievement this season, as they improved to 13-5.

The seeds for the effort may have been planted on Tuesday night when DePaul rallied from 11 points down in the final two-and-a-half minutes to force overtime on the road against No. 14 Villanova. They’d go onto lose that game, but were ready for the Bulldogs at home as they raced out to a 22-6 lead to begin the game.

Butler had that trimmed to ten at the start of the second half, but DePaul held onto control of the game the rest of the way, shooting 48.9 percent from the floor and hitting 10-of-17 three-point attempts. They became just the second team all season to score 70 or more points against the defensive-minded Bulldogs this season.

Paul Reed led the way with 23 points and Jalen Coleman-Lands 20, but Jalen Butz delivered the play of the game in the second with a powerful slam over Sean McDermott to put the Blue Demons up by 18. They wouldn’t look back after that as they score their biggest upset of the year to get some of that December momentum back on their side in the Big East.

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