ROSEMONT – For those fans who pass the giant illuminated sign often on I-90, there is a message that pops up from time to time.
It’s to advertise the upcoming DePaul basketball game at the venue adjacent to the electronic billboard-Allstate Arena. It reads “Back with a Bold Purpose.”
It refers to the coach at the school located about ten miles away in Lincoln Park. It’s a program that has wallowed in mediocrity since Dave Leitao left the first time a decade ago, one that hasn’t been to the NCAA Tournament since he took them there in 2004.
Slow progress was expected in Leitao’s return the team this season and indeed that’s been the case. Nine Big East games were played and the Blue Demons had a win in just one of them, with six of the eight losses coming by more that double digits.
But finally DePaul made its first “Bold” statement in conference play on Tuesday night.
The Blue Demons used hot shooting from the field and a huge game by Myke Henry to upset 11th ranked Providence 77-70 at Allstate Arena. The victory is the second of the season in the Big East for the Blue Demons on a night where two other Top 25 teams were also upset.
Henry was the key for DePaul as he scored 27 points on 12-of-18 shooting from the field. Sixteen of those points came in the second half when the Blue Demons outscored the Friars 39-32 to break a halftime tie. He finished off the upset in style with a slam with 28 seconds left that put away the second win over a ranked team this year for Leitao’s squad.
That other victory was against 20th-ranked George Washington back in December but this one comes during the conference season and is more likely to catch the eye of those around a very strong Big East this season. Billy Garrett Jr added 16 points and Rashaun Stimage nine as DePaul improves their record to 8-14 this season and 2-8 in conference.
It’s not a bold record by any stretch, but what they did at the building next to a sign that promises that word will be used in the future might give a little more belief to those drivers on I-90.