Xavier (19-12, 9-9) kept their NCAA tournament chances alive by pulling away from DePaul (9-22, 2-16) late and handing the Blue Demons a 79-65 defeat.
It was also DePaul’s Senior Day and the final appearance for Billy Garrett, Jr., Chris Harrison-Docks and R.J. Curington.
The Blue Demons were threatening, but Xavier’s Trevon Bluiett dealt them a dagger with his three pointer to make the score 72-61 with 2:02 to play.
Turnovers are what cost the Blue Demons the most in this one. DePaul turned the ball over 15 times and Xavier scored 18 points off of their turnovers.
Garrett led the way for DePaul with 17 points and achieved a career-high of seven rebounds.
Eli Cain scored 15 points and added six assists and three rebounds. Cain also has the distinction of having scored the final basket in Rosemont.
Chris Harrison-Docks added 11 points off the bench in his final game at home.
Bluiett led all scorers with a double-double performance of 24 points and 10 rebounds. Senior guard Malcolm Bernard added 13 points for the victorious Musketeers.
There will now be a rematch between Xavier and DePaul on Wednesday night in the first round of the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden in New York. Xavier has the seventh seed while the Demons are the 10 seed.
“We need to attack their zone and need to maintain our defensive focus and keep them off the glass,” Garrett said of playing the Musketeers.
DePaul coach Dave Leitao agreed with Garrett’s assessment.
“We’ve got to do a better job against their zone and we’ve got to do a better job on both backboards - offense and defense. Without looking at the film those are the two most glaring aspects of what they were able to do against us today.”
Rosemont is now in the rear view mirror for DePaul as they move to Wintrust Arena in Chicago’s South Loop in the fall. DePaul Public Address announcer Jim Reibandt, who has been in Rosemont calling games since the first season in 1980, signed off the final call today with “There are better times ahead.”
Better times indeed.