BOSTON (AP) — DePaul freshman forward Romeo Weems drew the toughest defensive assignment and added in the biggest rebound, helping the Blue Demons stay unbeaten.
Charlie Moore hit a pair of clutch 3-pointers in the final 1:16 — the second coming off Weems’ rebound of his own miss — and finished with 24 points to lead DePaul past Boston College 72-67 on Saturday, extending the Blue Demons’ best start 33 years.
“I was happy to see our guys be resilient. It was the first time all year that we had to make plays when plays were called for,” DePaul coach Dave Leitao said. “We had to get some stops and then Charlie came up big with those two 3s.”
Weems added 17 points, and Jaylen Butz and Paul Reed each scored 11 points for DePaul (6-0). It’s the Blue Demons best start since 1986-87 when they opened 16-0.
Derryck Thornton had 16 points and Julian Rishwain 15 for the Eagles (4-2).
Weems also played extended minutes guarding Thornton, BC’s leading scorer coming in at 16.2 per game.
“There’s not many freshmen his size that can be called on for almost 30, 35 minutes to play the best player on the other team, particularly when he’s a point guard and he’s really good,” Leitao said.
Moore’s 3 from the right wing gave the Blue Demons a 65-61 lead with 1:16 to play, but Nik Popovich answered from beyond the arc 15 seconds later.
After Weems missed a short jumper but grabbed the rebound, Moore nailed another 3, coming from the top of the key with just under a minute to play.
“When I missed the floater, I was like: ‘I’ve got to get it back,’’’ Weems said. “Charlie had just made a big 3, and I found him and he knocked it down.”
The Blue Demons outrebounded BC 47-28, owning a 16-6 edge on the offensive glass.
“This was a game whoever was more committed to doing small things was going to win the game,” BC coach Jim Christian said. “We focused on it, talked about it and showed it to them, but we did an awful job on the backboard, but I give DePaul credit.”
DePaul had used an 8-0 run early in the second half, turning a three-point lead into a 45-34 edge on Moore’s driving basket with 15:28 to play.
Trailing by 13, BC answered with a 9-0 spree over a 2-½ minute stretch, closing it to 54-50 on Jay Heath’s 3 from the left corner.
DePaul pushed its lead back to nine, but BC rallied again, cutting it to four on Popovich’s first basket - a layup off a drive from the right wing - of the game with 5:16 left. They had a chance to slice it to one, but Heath’s attempted 3 as the shot clock expired rimmed out.
DePaul: The Blue Demons looked poised and more talented when the game got ragged early in the second half, which should fit nicely when they begin their Big East schedule. … The 1986-87 squad went 28-3 and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tourney. That accomplishment was later vacated by the NCAA due to a violation.
Boston College: Facing an active front court with larger players gave the Eagles’ trouble inside. Popovich, the team’s second-leading scorer at 14.8 per game, got in foul trouble and was held to seven points. It’s something they’ll have to adjust to when they get into league play in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Christian said BC’s coaching staff had focused extensively on rebounding, talking to the team about it in practice.
“That’s not who we’ve been, but it was today,” he said. “I’m more concerned that it was an emphasis for us coming into the game. We were not committed as a group to do everything we can as a group.”
Moore played nearly 39 minutes with guard Devin Gage sidelined after spraining an ankle in practice.
DePaul: Hosts Central Michigan on Tuesday night.
Boston College: Hosts Saint Louis on Wednesday afternoon.
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