ROSEMONT, Ill. — It may have been Durrell McDonald’s birthday on Tuesday but the DePaul guard ended up delivering the gift.
The Blue Demons sophomore hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 2:55 to play as DePaul broke a 10-game losing streak with a 65-60 Big East victory over the Seton Hall Pirates at Allstate Arena.
McDonald, now 20, connected just as the shot clock expired to give the hosts a 61-58 lead.
“I looked right at the shot clock and as soon as I saw (the time left) I’ve got to shoot,” McDonald said. “I thought it was just confidence. When the game is tight you can’t think about the game too much because that’s when you start not playing your game.”
Even the opposition was impressed.
“He hit a tough shot, he’s a good shooter,” said Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard. “With the shot clock running down we challenged it and that must have been a 35-footer and he made it.”
Guard Brandon Young led a balanced attack with 19 points as the Blue Demons (11-18, 3-13) won for the first time in six weeks and escaped going 0-for-February.
McDonald and guard Billy Garrett Jr. each scored 15 points apiece while forward Sandi Marcius added 10.
“It started in practice today,” McDonald said. “We all just stayed strictly focused and played our game and came out with the W.”
Forward Fuquan Edwin scored 21 points despite a sprained thumb to lead the Pirates (14-14, 5-9), who lost their second straight and fifth in six games. Guard Jaren Sina added 12 points.
DePaul led 38-29 at halftime, but Seton Hall opened with a 13-4 run and tied the game at 42 on Edwin’s fast-break layup with 15:10 to play.
Edwin and Sina then hit back-to-back 3-pointers over a 58-second span as Seton Hall opened a 50-44 lead with 12:50 to play. DePaul rallied over the next four minutes to claim a 52-50 lead on McDonald’s 3-pointer.
From there, the game offered two lead changes and three ties until McDonald’s shot clock-beating 3-pointer put DePaul up for good.
DePaul trailed early, then used a 10-0 run over a span of 2:17 to open a 16-11 lead less than seven minutes into the game. The Blue Demons later had a pair of nine-point leads, the second coming at the 6:30 mark when forward Forest Robinson’s 3-pointer made it 29-20.
DePaul’s lead hit double-digits with 90 seconds left as Marcius’ layup opened a 36-26 lead. Marcius, who closed the half with 10 points, added a put back with two seconds showing to make it 38-29.
The Blue Demons were 15 of 21 (71.4 percent) from the field in the first half, including four of eight from beyond the arc. Edwin paced the Pirates with 12 first-half points.
“I thought our effort was okay,” Willard said. “I thought we got a little confused defensively. I wasn’t a little shocked that we weren’t a little more focused on the defensive end. But they came out and made some tough shots early … and Young got them going.”
NOTES: DePaul G Brandon Young needed just two points to become the sixth in school history with 1,800 points. … The Blue Demons’ 96-94 overtime loss to Marquette last Saturday snapped a run of 13 straight wins when they scored 80 or more points. … A career-high 26-point effort in that game helped DePaul G Billy Garrett Jr. land Big East Rookie of the Week honors for the fifth time this season. … Seton Hall G/F Fuquan Edwin landed on the Big East honor roll this week after averaging 16.5 points in two wins. … The Pirates, who beat the Blue Demons 86-69 on Jan. 25 in South Orange, N.J., lead the all-time series 10-8 and have won seven of the last nine meetings. … Seton Hall hosts Providence on Friday while DePaul is at St. John’s on Sunday.
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