DePaul Stuns Georgetown

With the stench from perhaps DePaul's worst loss of the season last week against Butler fresh on their minds, the Blue Demons would not let apathy set in during their Big East first-round game against Georgetown at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night.

Instead they let determination set it.

DePaul (12-20) came out with a game plan, passion and a sense of purpose and it resulted in a stunning 60-56 victory over Georgetown (17-14) before a crowd of 13, 177 Big East fans.

"We talked about gaining perspective (after the Butler loss)," said a relived Oliver Purnell. "It is now March, the most important time of the year. Every year, every March there are a few teams that make some noise. We have an opportunity to do that. We've got absolutely nothing to lose. They embraced that approach and attitude."

Although it wasn't pretty; but for DePaul, their win over Georgetown was a thing of beauty—especially for a team that has had its share of disappointment and heartbreak over the years. This was DePaul's first Big East tournament win since they upset Cincinnati, 67-57, back in 2009. Both games came with DePaul as the lowest seed in the tournament.

For a Georgetown team (who came in as the 7 seed) that desperately needed this win to have any shot of making the NCAA Tournament, DePaul (the No. 10 seed) went blow for blow with them from the tip and would not stop until the final buzzer. With the win, DePaul effectively burst Georgetown's bubble hopes for the NCAA Tournament.

"Obviously, that was a heck of a win for our ball club," Purnell said after the game. "I think our guys earned it every step of the way. These guys came in with a proper attitude."

The contest was nip and tuck for most of the game. Georgetown headed into halftime with a slim two point lead, 25-23.

The second half was more of the same with neither team building leads of more than four. With the score tied at 45 with just under six minutes left, it was then that DePaul would flex their muscle and hit clutch threes (with Forrest Robinson—who finished with a career high of 14 points— hitting two key ones in the stretch) en route to going on a 8-0 run. Billy Garrett Jr. (who scored a team-high 17 points) capitalized the run with a jumper to put the Demons up 53-45 with 4:05 to go.

Georgetown would not go down without a fight, though, and narrowed the gap to three, 55-52, on two D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera free throws with 1:01 to go in the game.

From there DePaul would hit five of six free throws—with Garrett Jr. icing the game with four of them— to preserve the win.

Garrett Jr. who was fresh of winning the Big East Rookie of the Year Award, after it was announced by the league on Wednesday, knew his free throws down the stretch would be huge.

"Coach (Purnell) preached free throws (in practice)," Garrett Jr. said. "He said every one counts, and it's going to come down to free throws, and it did."

Senior Brandon Young, who fouled Smith-Rivera with 1:01 to go, would foul out with 13 points (third most on the team). Young, though, would finally earn that elusive Big East Tournament win.

"It means a lot to me," Young said. "I played horribly, but that's why I got teammates. They were picking me up and being positive, and we came out with the win."

Neither team was very proficient from the field. The Blue Demons shot 41.3 percent from the field with Georgetown hitting 38.5 percent from the field. The Hoyas would win the battle on the boards, out-rebounding the Demons, 36-32.

Smith-Rivera would lead Georgetown with a game-high 21 points, while the Hoyas' leading scorer, Markel Starks, chipped in with 17.

The Demons will now have the unenviable task of facing the No. 2 seed Creighton Blue Jays, led by Player of the Year candidate Doug McDermott (and Big East Player of the Year), at 6 p.m. Central on Thursday night.

"That's difficult," Purnell said on trying to slow down McDermott. "We'd love to be in that same spot tomorrow night and see if we can do some things to slow him down. It is very difficult to stop him. I got tremendous respect for his ability."


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