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Hoyas race past Demons in first round of Big East Tournament

Unlike two years ago, DePaul could not recapture the same magic against Georgetown this time in the first round of the Big East Tournament, as the Blue Demons lost to the Hoyas, 70-53, on Wednesday night to end its 2015-16 season.

Plain and simple, Georgetown did an efficient job of making its shots, while DePaul could not hit water if it fell off a boat. The Hoyas shot 50 percent from the field.

Meanwhile DePaul was awful across the board, as the Demons shot an abysmal 37.9 percent from the field, 30 percent from three-point range and an ungodly 35.3 percent from the free-throw line. The 53 points were the fewest by DePaul in a Big East Tournament game.

The Hoyas set the tone early on and were never really threatened the rest of the way. After the Blue Demons took an early 4-2 lead in the early going, the Hoyas would respond with 18-6 run to get their lead into double-digits.

While DePaul would respond with a 14-7 run to cut the Hoyas lead down to three points, Georgetown would seize back momentum with an 8-0 run to end the half and head into the locker room with all the momentum they would need.

Granted, DePaul would show some fight, as they whittled Georgetown's 11-point halftime lead down to four points on Myke Henry's put-back layup to make it 39-35 with 14:32 to go. But as you can guess, Georgetown would answer again and go on a definitive 14-2 run to take control of the game midway through the second half.

With his career winding down, Hoyas' senior guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera knew he had to have a good game and that he did, as he led the club with 20 points while shooting 4-7 from three-point range.

Simply put, Smith-Rivera would not let his team lose.

“Every game from here on out is a must-win for everybody,” Smith-Rivera said. “You just don't want to reflect on mistakes and things we can control and say we could have, would have or should have. We can turn it around.”

For the Demons, it was once again freshman Eli Cain who was the lone bright spot. Cain's 14's points led the way. Albeit, he only shot 6-16 from the field. No other Demon scored in double figures, as the rest of the team scored just 39 points on 16-42 shooting from the field.

After the game, DePaul coach Dave Leitao was asked how he will use this year's struggles and apply them toward improving the program for next year and beyond.

“There are teachable moments in everything we do,” Leitao said. “You can learn from some positive things about everything: teamwork, camaraderie, hard work and appreciating the opportunity that we have.”

“Basketball is at its core a team game, and you've got to be invested in the team 100 percent,” Leitao added. “If there's any level of it that you look at yourself in the mirror and see anything other than you and your teammates, then you're not looking at it properly. We’ve got to focus on that and get better at all of those areas.”

After the game Billy Garrett reflected on what went wrong this year and how he'll go about correcting things.

"That's what I'm going to do, " Garrett said. "(I'm) going to look at what I can improve on, what I can do better and try to come in next year and apply those things to my game. "

DePaul finishes its season at 9-22. Meanwhile, the Hoyas (15-17) will play the No.1 seed Villanova in the quarterfinals on Thursday.


Postgame Notes from DePaul Sports Information:  DePaul is 2-9 all-time in nine Big East Tournament appearances... Eli Cain recorded his 16th game in double-figures... Georgetown leads the all-time series, 28-7... the Hoyas won all three meetings this season.

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