Wildcats Tame DePaul 49-39

In a battle of winless college basketball crosstown rivals in Evanston on Tuesday night, someone was going to come away with the victory. In the end it was the Northwestern Wildcats that emerged victorious by a margin of 49-39 over the DePaul Blue Demons.

DePaul grabbed the lead early in this one and maintained their edge over Northwestern in the first half as the Blue Demons went into intermission with a 20-16 lead. The Wildcats were cold from the field shooting just 26.9% in the first half. They snapped out of their slump in the second half by shooting 57.9%.

Northwestern took command in the second half, yet DePaul continued to fight back, pulling to within 36-34 with under five minutes to go in the game. It was a three pointer by Craig Moore with 1:53 remaining that helped put the nail in the coffin for DePaul as they trailed 43-36. "(Moore) is a good player and it was time for him to come through so he hit a nice three," said Northwestern coach Bill Carmody.

Moore led Northwestern with 10 points. Freshman Kevin Coble earned the Waldo Fisher-Frank McGrath MVP trophy with a nine point performance, all of which came in the second half. While senior Tim Doyle contributed with nine for the Wildcats.

Wilson Chandler led all scorers with 11 points and nine rebounds. DePaul senior Marcus Heard had eight points and nine rebounds starting in place of Wesley Green.

The Blue Demons controlled the boards in the matchup by a 38 to 25 edge, but it was turnovers that did them in. DePaul failed to take care of the basketball, turning it over 15 times to Northwestern's five.

Overall DePaul shot 34% from the field. "We don't have a lot of confidence in our offense right now," said DePaul coach Jerry Wainwright. "Our shooting has been abysmal, and I thought that would be a strength."

DePaul senior guard Sammy Mejia went down with a knee injury at the eleven minute mark in the second half and returned after trainer Amy Ingraffia tended to his knee. "I've been wearing a really tight t-band on my knee for the past couple weeks and getting treatment on it," said Mejia. "When I went up for a putback I landed funny on it, put too much pressure on it, and it kind of got irritated."

For two games now the Blue Demons have not gotten the ball inside to preseason all-Big East player Wilson Chandler. "I think that's two-fold," said Wainwright. "If you really want the ball, you've got to demand the basketball."

An 0-2 start on the road isn't exactly what the Blue Demons had planned on. "We're a shaken team," said Jerry. "We're a team that right now needs to find it's identity."

"We never expected this," said Mejia. "Obviously we've got to find a way to bounce back and get in the win column. We're disappointed. We're not the type of team to put up 39 points on the board. We're better than that. We need to get aggressive on the offensive end. We played to their pace and they took advantage of it."

Carmody offered hope for the rest of the season for DePaul. "I know Jerry's teams from (UNC) Wilmington and we had some great games back East and his teams always improve and get better and better. And I know this team will also."

Official Box Score

Postgame Audio

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