Fifth-year senior Javan Johnson scored seven of his career-high 28 points in overtime to lift DePaul to a 103-98 nonconference home victory over Samford Wednesday night in a game that featured 16 ties and 16 lead changes.
Umoja Gibson contributed 20 points and 9 assists as DePaul (4-3) snapped a three-game losing streak. Da’Sean Nelson added 18 points and Philmon Gebrewhit notched 16 as the Blue Demons canned 18 of 34 3-pointers — the 18 3-pointers tying the most for the program since 1995-96.
Logan Dye paced Samford (6-3) with 23 points and 7 rebounds while Bubba Parham produced 16 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists as the Bulldogs dropped their third in a row.
Samford didn’t go down without a fight, though. Nelson’s dunk gave DePaul an 89-84 lead with 18.5 seconds left in regulation, but Achor Achor answered with a layup for a 3-point play with 11 seconds to go. Then Samford trapped Gibson in the corner, and Jermaine Marshall ripped the ball out of his hands and drove for an acrobatic scoop layup with 6.5 seconds left to force overtime.
Samford claimed a 93-90 lead on Parham’s pair of free throws with 2:52 left in overtime, but DePaul ripped off 11 of the next 13 points as Johnson and Gibson swished unguarded 3-pointers, Johnson sank a short pullup and Gibson fed Nelson for an alley-oop jam in transition to supply the Blue Demons with a 101-95 margin with 0:34 left.
DePaul jumped out to a remarkable start with 6 points on its first possession to foreshadow the game’s first 25 minutes. Gebrewhit hit a 3-pointer from the corner while Samford was whistled for a foul on the boxout. The Blue Demons retained possession and Johnson drilled another 3-pointer.
Samford, expected to be a Southern Conference contender, quickly erased that deficit and took a 13-11 lead on Parham’s driving layup five minutes into the game. The Blue Demons and Bulldogs proceeded to forge 10 ties and exchange the lead eight times during a breakneck first half that featured 35 3-point tries.
During one absurd 91-second stretch late in the first half, Samford and DePaul combined to hit six 3-point attempts in six possessions — Nathan Johnson, Achor and Javan Johnson scoring for the Bulldogs while Nelson, Jalen Terry and Gibson tallied for the Blue Demons to help DePaul take a 50-49 lead into intermission.
The teams picked up in the second half where they left off as Samford canned its first three 3-pointers and DePaul hit its first two before the first media timeout, which pushed the Bulldogs’ 3-point shooting to 10 of 18 (56 percent) and the Blue Demons’ marksmanship to 14 of 22 (64 percent).