Following the game, the Waldo Fisher-Frank McGrath Award for the game's Most Valuable Player was awarded to Northwestern (7-6) guard Tre Demps, but everyone in the building knew that it was Billy Garrett, Jr. who was the true MVP.
After missing his first five 3-point attempts of the game, Northwestern point guard David Sobolewski put the Wildcats on top 56-55 by burying a three with less than five seconds remaining in the game.
DePaul coach Oliver Purnell then called a timeout to setup his play. With one hitch, it went pretty much according to plan. The play called for Brandon Young to inbound the ball from the baseline to Cleveland Melvin standing at halfcourt, Melvin was to then pass to Garrett, Jr. who was running up the sideline for the game winning shot.
Instead Melvin passed the ball to Durrell McDonald, who still managed to find Garrett as he was coming up the sideline yelling for the ball. Garrett laid the ball in as time expired to give DePaul (8-5) the victory.
"Coach Purnell drew up an amazing play out of the timeout," said Garrett. "Durrell made a heckuva pass. He was going up to shoot. He looked at me and threw it right to my hand. I caught it and luckily I put it in."
"They executed the play perfectly," said Purnell.
Both teams were cold shooting the ball. The Blue Demons shot 36.8% from the floor and held Northwestern to 32.1% shooting. DePaul stole the ball 10 times and forced 15 NU turnovers.
DePaul also struggled at the charity stripe going 11 for 21.
"I thought we deserved the win," said Purnell. "We almost gave it away at the free throw line, but the kids clearly hung in there till the last second."
DePaul had some balanced scoring in this one. Sandi Marcius led the Demons with 12 points, while Melvin scored 11 and collected six rebounds. The two helped the Demons to outscore NU in the paint by a 36-12 margin.
Demps led all scorers with 23 points off the bench to earn the MVP Award. Drew Crawford scored 15 points, but went zero for five from beyond the three point stripe and five of 17 from the floor.
Next the Blue Demons open up Big East conference play on New Year's Eve in the national's capital with the Georgetown Hoyas.
- DePaul junior Jamee Crockett returned in tonight's game after sitting out the last two weeks with a sprained right knee.
- DePaul is now 9-1 against Chicagoland opponents under Oliver Purnell.
- The 56 points allowed where the fourth-fewest for DePaul under Oliver Purnell.
- DePaul extended its streak to 624 straight games with a three-pointer by going 1-for-10.
- Cleveland Melvin moved into 21st place on the all-time rebounding list. Melvin has 672 career rebounds.
- DePaul leads the series with Northwestern, 20-10.
- The win was the first for DePaul in Evanston since a 71-61 victory on Dec. 16, 1995 and snapped a four-game losing streak at Welsh-Ryan Arena.
Garrett's Buzzer Beater Leads DePaul
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