NCAA News Wire

DePaul rallies past Marquette in Big East opener

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ROSEMONT, Ill. — With a seemingly comfortable 13-point lead and less than 12 minutes to play, Marquette appeared poised to close out a win over DePaul on Wednesday.

Instead, the Blue Demons jumped on Golden Eagles turnovers and missed shots to chip away, then pulled ahead down the stretch to snap a six-game skid with a 61-58 Big East season-opening victory in front of 8,079 fans at Allstate Arena.

“It’s definitely big time,” said DePaul guard Billy Garrett Jr., who scored a game-high 19 points. “We needed it. Our morale had dropped a little bit, and hopefully this gives us a boost. … Dropping six straight was tough; we didn’t see it coming. But it feels good to bounce back.”

The Blue Demons (7-7, 1-0) won a Big East opener for only the second time in 10 seasons and the first time since 2008.

“We didn’t play a picture-perfect game by any stretch of the imagination,” DePaul coach Oliver Purnell said. “I thought it was a really good college basketball game, but both teams made a lot of mistakes.”

Forward Jamee Crockett added 13 points for the Blue Demons. Guards Duane Wilson and Matt Carlino each scored 11 points for the short-handed Golden Eagles, down to eight active players after two transferred out earlier this month.

Marquette (8-5, 0-1) saw a four-game winning streak end.

“We didn’t make shots today, and we’re a team with a very small margin for error,” said Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski, whose team hit 38.6 percent of its attempts from the floor. “We have to do the majority of the things in the game well in order to win in this conference. Give DePaul credit, they played well, but we didn’t do our part.”

DePaul trailed by double figures with 11:46 left in regulation but trimmed Marquette’s lead to single digits, then tied it at 53-53 on Garrett’s 3-pointer with 1:52 remaining.

Garrett then gave DePaul a 56-55 lead — its first lead since the opening half — on a free throw with 1:14 left. Crockett followed with a jumper with 44 seconds remaining to make it 58-55.

DePaul led 61-58 with 9.7 seconds to play. Wilson missed one potential tying 3-pointer, and Carlino’s desperation heave at the buzzer also failed.

“We wanted to go for a three, and we ended up with Matt coming off one screen and we had Duane coming off another,” Wojciechowski said. “I actually thought we got a good look.”

Wilson scored nine first-half points as the Golden Eagles shook off poor shooting to open a 32-26 halftime lead. Marquette shot just 39.4 percent before the break, while DePaul made 36.7 percent. The Blue Demons finished at 40.4 percent for the game.

Marquette broke an 18-18 tie on a Wilson layup with 7:37 left and outscored DePaul 14-8 through the balance of the opening half. Garrett paced DePaul with 10 first-half points.

NOTES: Marquette F Jajuan Johnson was selected to the Big East honor roll after averaging 16 points, 4.0 assists and 3.5 rebounds in wins last week over North Dakota and Morgan State. … Sophomore guards Deonte Burton and John Dawson left Marquette at the end of the first semester. … The Golden Eagles continue Big East play Saturday at home against Providence. DePaul plays host to Xavier on Saturday. … The game against Marquette was the 115th all time in DePaul’s longest-running series that dates to 1918. Notre Dame is next with 104 meetings. … Blue Demons F Jamee Crockett made his 50th career start. He averages 12.2 points and is shooting a 49.2 percent from the field. … The Blue Demons’ previous home win over the Golden Eagles was in 2010. They haven’t won in Milwaukee since 2000.