DePaul Blue Demons (10-17, 2-12) vs. Marquette Golden Eagles (15-11, 7-6) – Saturday, February 22nd, 1 p.m. Central – Allstate Arena, Rosemont, Illinois
Television – CBS Sports Network
Radio – WSCR AM 670
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On the heels of a nine-game losing streak, DePaul (10-17, 2-12) heads into their game with Marquette (15-11, 7-6) on Saturday afternoon at Allstate Arena with—suffice to say—not a lot of momentum.
However, if there was one game on the schedule for DePaul that would get the team and fans alike riled up, it's always their home game against Marquette.
"Right now, we're clearly not where we want to be," DePaul coach Oliver Purnell told WSCR radio on Thursday night in anticipation of their game with Marquette. "It's an impetus game for us, since we have three of our last four games at home."
This will be the 114th meeting between the two schools and DePaul University has this day marked as "DePaul Blue Demon Day" with plenty of alumni expected to be attendance.
It also marks the return of ex-coach Jerry Wainwright, who is now an assistant coach with Marquette.
This will be the second time the two teams played this year, as DePaul previously fell in their trip at Milwaukee, losing 66-56 on January 4th.
DePaul and Marquette are both coming off humbling losses on Wednesday night. DePaul never got out of its own way while getting easily bounced at Xavier 83-64, while the Golden Eagles dropped an 85-70 decision at home to conference leaders Creighton.
Just like when Xavier played DePaul, this has to be viewed as a must-win game for the Golden Eagles if they have any ideas of playing in the NCAA Tournament. As they say in rivalry games, you can throw out the records. And DePaul would love nothing more than to derail Marquette's NCAA Tournament hopes.
Marquette has now won the last five meetings in the series and 11 of the last 13.
Purnell said the he and the team are looking forward to the rematch considering they let the last game slip away in Milwaukee.
"We had a very competitive game (at Marquette in January), led at halftime and (were) up 10 in the second half," Purnell said. "We'd like to return the favor. With only four games left, it would great to win over your archrival."
In that game the Demons were outclassed by Marquette's leading scorer Davante Gardner. Gardner, who is the team's leading scorer (14.5 ppg) and rebounder (5.9 rpg), had his way in the paint en route to scoring a game-high 28 points. Purnell is looking to slow him down in this matchup.
"(As a team), we can't wait until he gets in the paint to start guarding him," Purnell said on WSCR. "We got to play defense (on him) early and distort his timing. We (also) got to defend the lane and the rim by denying penetration."
If the Demons have any shot at pulling off the upset, they are going to have to make sound decisions with the ball and be patient on offense. Marquette leads the Big East in scoring defense, allowing only 66.1 points per game, so they are not going to give up easy looks.
While some maintain DePaul's spirit is broken, Purnell told WSCR that he won't allow his team to wallow in its misery amid the nine-game losing streak.
"I just remind (them) that I have been through this before at four other institutions," Purnell said. "I think sometimes it's hard to see the forest through the trees. I told them about the Boston College/Syracuse game (and that anything can happen). We talked about teams struggling early that caught fire at the end. We can write our own chapter."
The Last Time
On January 4, 2014 at Milwaukee's Bradley Center, Davante Gardner scored 21 of his career-high 28 points in the second half to lead the Golden Eagles to a 66-56 win over the Blue Demons.
Jamil Wilson added 14 points and Todd Mayo chipped in with 10 for Marquette.
Cleveland Melvin led the way for DePaul with 22 points. However, fellow senior Brandon Young was held scoreless. DePaul freshman Billy Garrett, Jr. contributed with 10 points in the losing effort.
No. Name Ht./Wt. Pos. Year Hometown (High School)
10 Juan Anderson 6-6/215 F JR Oakland, Calif. (Castro Valley HS)
30 Deonte Burton 6-4/230 G/F FR Milwaukee, Wis. (Vincent HS)
2 John Dawson 6-2/195 G FR Clovis, N.M. (Clovis HS)
40 Luke Fischer 6-11/230 C RS FR Germantown, WI (Germantown HS)
34 Dylan Flood 6-4/200 G JR Lemont, Ill. (Benet Academy HS)
54 Davante Gardner 6-8/290 F SR Suffolk, Va. (King's Fork HS)
5 Jajuan Johnson 6-5/185 G FR Memphis, Tenn. (Southwind HS)
4 Todd Mayo 6-3/195 G JR Huntington, W.Va. (Notre Dame Prep)
42 Chris Otule 6-11/275 C RS SR Richmond, Texas (Ft. Bend Bush)
25 Steve Taylor, Jr. 6-7/235 F SO Chicago, Ill. (Simeon HS)
23 Jake Thomas 6-3/205 G RS SR Racine, Wis. (St. Catherine's HS)
12 Derrick Wilson 6-1/215 G JR Anchorage, Alaska (The Hotchkiss School)
1 Duane Wilson 6-2/180 G FR Milwaukee, Wis. (Dominican HS)
0 Jamil Wilson 6-7/230 F RS SR Racine, Wis. (Horlick HS)
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