NEW YORK – For only the second time since joining the Big East Conference, DePaul has advanced to the second round of the Big East tournament after knocking off Georgetown 60-56 Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.
The 10th-seeded Blue Demons (12-20) were led by guard Billy Garrett Jr., the Big East’s Rookie of the Year, who tossed in 17 points. Forward Forrest Robinson added 14 points.
DePaul faces second-seeded Creighton on Thursday.
DePaul last advanced to the second round of the tournament in 2009, its third season in the conference.
It has a combined 10-19 conference tournament record playing in the Great Midwest (1-4), Conference USA (7-9) and the Big East (2-6).
Georgetown (17-14), the seventh seed, received 21 points from guard D’Vauntes Smith Rivera.
DePaul led 57-54 with 16.1 seconds left after a 7-2 run by Georgetown, but forward Jamee Crockett sank one of two free throws and Garrett hit both of his with six seconds left for the win.
The Blue Demons went on a 8-0 run to take a 53-45 cushion with 4:08 left in the game, snapping a 45-45 tie.
Garrett was the highest scoring freshman in the conference and was honored five times during the season for weekly honors, the most among all freshmen.
It marked the second time in the last four years a Blue Demon has won the honor. Cleveland Melvin, who was dismissed from the school in early February, was the conference’s Rookie of the Year in 2011.
DePaul tied it at 40-40 on a jumper from guard Brandon Young with 9:50 to play then went ahead 43-40 on a 3-pointer by Robinson at the 9:16 mark. After a 3-pointer from Starks, Young sank a free throw for a 44-43 DePaul lead.
The Hoyas ended the first half by outscoring DePaul 8-3 to take a 25-23 lead. Smith-Rivera led Georgetown with 11 points and Garrett Jr. tossed in nine points for the Blue Demons, who made just nine of their 25 field goals.
DePaul’s 7-0 burst with 4:15 remaining in the half gave the Blue Demons a 20-17 lead. Forward Forrest Robinson got the run off on a 3-pointer and Young’s jumper gave the Blue Demons their first lead of the game at 18-17. Young finished the scoring sequence with two free throws.
With the score tied at 7-7, Georgetown went on an 8-0 run, fueled by 3-pointers from Starks and forward Aaron Bowen. The Blue Demons went six minutes before scoring a basket during the Georgetown blitz.
NOTES: Georgetown and Connecticut have won seven Big East tournament titles each, more than any other member. … Heading into Wednesday’s game, Georgetown coach John Thompson is 10-0 against DePaul. … Georgetown’s backcourt of Markel Starks and D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera is averaging 33.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 2.1 steals. They have combined to score 47.9 percent of Georgetown’s points this season. … DePaul G Brandon Young played in his 125th game. … A DePaul freshman claimed the Big East Conference Rookie of the Week seven times this season — the highest season total in the school’s history.
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