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CHICAGO (AP) – Max Strus had 21 points, Devin Gage added a career-high 14 points and DePaul bounced back after struggling down the stretch in regulation for a 72-70 overtime victory against Penn State on Thursday night.
Jaylen Butz had a career-high 15 rebounds as DePaul won in the Gavitt Tipoff Games matchup. The Blue Demons are 3-0 for the first time since the 2008-09 season.
Lamar Stevens had 25 points and Myles Dread added 19 for Penn State, which dropped to 2-1.
Eli Cain hit a jumper to give DePaul a 70-68 lead early in OT, snapping a streak of eight straight misses. Jalen Coleman-Lands and Strus then each made one of two free throws for a 72-68 advantage.
The big story, though, was the defense, which held Penn State to 0-for-6 shooting in OT.
DePaul got off to a miserable start, committing turnovers on its first six possessions to fall behind 11-0. The Blue Demons didn’t manage to get off a shot until nearly four minutes had expired and didn’t score until a basket by Femi Olujobi with 15:46 left in the first half.
But things suddenly started clicking offensively behind Cage, who had 12 first-half points and scored 10 straight DePaul points at one point. Cage’s 3-point play with 4:21 to go gave the Blue Demons a 28-26 lead, their first of the game.
DePaul had a 36-31 halftime advantage.
A Strus 3-point play – he was fouled on an alley-oop dunk – gave DePaul a 63-53 lead, its biggest of the game. The Blue Demons still were up 68-60 with two minutes remaining, but Penn State ran off eight straight points to tie the score at 68 with 26.1 seconds to go.
Stevens, though, had a chance to give the Nittany Lions the lead after tying the game with the first of two free throws, but he missed the second and the game went to overtime.
THE BIG PICTURE
Penn State: Despite taking an 11-0 lead, the Nittany Lions didn’t take full advantage of DePaul’s struggles at the start. Cold shooting in the first half then caused the lead to vanish completely.
DePaul: After season-opening wins against Bethune-Cookman and Morgan State, the Blue Demons seemed overwhelmed by the step up in class at first, but quickly responded. The tenacity they showed on the defensive end will keep them competitive in many games this season.
Penn State: Faces Wright State in the opener of the Cancun Challenge on Tuesday night.
DePaul: Visits Notre Dame on Nov. 24.
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