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After upset loss, No. 25 Northwestern ready for DePaul

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Heavily favored Northwestern lost to visiting Chicago State for the first time in 16 meetings on Wednesday.

While a loss Saturday at DePaul wouldn’t be unprecedented for the No. 25 Wildcats, who trail the all-time series with the Blue Demons 21-15, it would represent another unexpected blow.

Aiming to avoid a second hiccup this week, the Wildcats (7-2) know they can’t underestimate DePaul as they did Chicago State.

“At the end of the day, it’s basketball. They’re Division I basketball players. They’re good players,” Northwestern’s Ty Berry said. “And if you don’t come ready to play, you can lose to anybody. So, you just (know) how important every game is and to play as hard as you possibly can every game. We just didn’t show up (Wednesday).”

That reality cost Northwestern a chance to win at Welsh-Ryan Arena for the first time as a ranked team since Jan. 3, 1959.

Northwestern hit 49.1 percent from the floor but allowed Chicago State to shoot 48 percent. Wesley Cardet Jr. scored a game-high 30 points for the Cougars, who were plus-two on the glass in their 75-73 victory.

“For our team, it really takes everybody out there to be connected on defense for us to have success,” said Boo Buie, who paced the Wildcats with 23 points. “Our talk early on and just throughout the whole game just wasn’t great. And that’s something that we’ve got to keep getting better at and keep coming and working on.”

DePaul (2-7) is trying to win consecutive games for the first time this season. The Blue Demons on Saturday stopped a five-game skid with a 75-68 victory against visiting Louisville.

Jeremiah Oden (22 points) and Chico Carter Jr. (14) led four Blue Demons in double figures.

The game also marked the season debut of point guard Jalen Terry, who played 14 minutes after being sidelined with foot and ankle injuries.

“Obviously, we’ve been going through a lot of adversity over the last couple of weeks,” DePaul coach Tony Stubblefield said. “I tell you all the time: This is a very resilient group. And I think they showed that (Saturday). And they’ve been coming to practice working extremely hard even though things haven’t been going in their favor for some of these games.”

Stubblefield added that “this team is capable of more” as he challenged players to remain upbeat amid the ups and downs of the early season.

To that end, DePaul chanted “Positivity!” when breaking its huddles in the Louisville game, which kicked off a four-game homestand.

“Just having a positive attitude between our team, coaching staff and everybody on the court,” Carter said. “It felt good. It felt good to get in that winning column.”

Northwestern thumped visiting DePaul 83-45 last season for the largest margin of victory in the series. The Wildcats have won five of six against the Blue Demons.

–Field Level Media

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