The 10th-seeded Blue Demons knocked off seventh-seeded Georgetown
60-56 Wednesday in a first-round matchup at Madison Square Garden.
After halting a 14-game losing streak to the Hoyas, DePaul will play
Thursday night in the quarterfinals against second-seeded Creighton,
the nation's 14th-ranked team.
DePaul (12-20) was led by guard Billy Garrett Jr., the Big East's
Rookie of the Year, who tossed in 17 points. Blue Demons forward
Forrest Robinson tied his career high with 14 points.
"This was one of, if not our best game of the year," DePaul coach
Oliver Purnell said.
DePaul last advanced to the second round of the tournament in 2009,
its third season in the conference. The Blue Demons have 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) received 21 points from guard D'Vauntes
Smith-Rivera, who made all 10 of his free throws.
DePaul led 57-54 with 16.1 seconds left after a 7-2 run by
Georgetown, but Blue Demons forward Jamee Crockett sank one of two
free throws and Garrett hit both of his with six seconds left to
seal the win.
Garrett was 7-for-7 from the line, 4-for-4 in the final 21 seconds
of the game. The Blue Demons made 17 of 24 foul shots.
"In shoot-around and practice, coach (Purnell) preached free
throws," Garrett said. "He said every one counts and it's going to
come down to free throws, and it did.
"So we listened to that and we paid attention to it in practice.
When it came down the stretch, it really did come to free throws,
and we were able to knock them down."
Garrett was the highest-scoring freshman in the conference, and he
received weekly honors five times, the most among all Big East
freshmen. He became the second Blue Demon in four years to win the
season honor. Cleveland Melvin, who was dismissed from the school in
early February, was the conference's Rookie of the Year in 2011.
The Blue Demons went on an 8-0 run to take a 53-45 cushion with 4:08
left in the game. Robinson drained back-to-back 3-pointers and
Garrett scored on a twisting layup in the sequence.
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 Markel Starks, Young sank a free
throw for a 44-43 DePaul lead.
"Obviously that was a heck of a win for our ballclub," Purnell said.
"The last several days in practice, after the Butler game (a 79-46
loss) where we probably played as bad as we could, these guys came
in with a proper attitude and really worked at it.
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"We've been talking about March and what opportunities lie in March
for a couple of weeks now, and I think our guys internalized that."
The Hoyas ended the first half by outscoring DePaul 8-3 to take a
25-23 lead. Smith-Rivera led Georgetown with 11 first-half points
and Garrett tossed in nine.
DePaul's 7-0 burst with 4:15 remaining in the half gave the Blue
Demons a 20-17 lead. Robinson began the run with 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: The 56 points were the lowest DePaul allowed in eight Big
East Conference tournament games. ... Georgetown G D'Vauntes
Smith-Rivera became the sixth player in tournament history to go at
least 10-for-10 from the foul line in a game. He recorded the best
free-throw shooting performance for the Hoyas in their tournament
history. ...Georgetown and Connecticut have won seven Big East
tournament titles each, tops in the conference's history. ...
Georgetown coach John Thompson is now 10-1 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 fouled out for the first time in
125 games. With 13 points, Young passed George Mikan for fourth
place on the Blue Demons' career scoring list with 1,877 points ...
A DePaul freshman claimed the Big East Conference Rookie of the Week
seven times this season — the highest season total in the school's
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