DePaul senior guard Sammy Mejia led all scorers with 18 points, 13 of which came in the second half. "He's a very good player," said Marquette men's basketball coach Tom Crean. "We've played against him for a long time. He got into the lane too easy tonight. He made some big plays. We didn't do as good of a job containing the dribble. It's a credit to them and the way they drove the ball."
Mejia credited his performance to a few days of rest following the Notre Dame game as he recuperated from the flu. "The days off were huge," said Mejia. "I felt a little more energized today. The last game against Notre Dame, I felt kind of sluggish. We just matched their intensity today. I think that was the difference-maker in the game."
"I thought Sammy played real well tonight," said DePaul coach Jerry Wainwright "We gave him the whole weekend off. I think he was running on empty. We had really solid practices while he rested. I thought he had his legs tonight. I thought he had some bounce. He really did a good job."
Once again it was Blue Demon senior Marcus Heard who contributed with key plays down the stretch. When Marquette was within one point with 6:43 remaining, it was Heard that drained a clutch three pointer. Then with the score at 63-62 DePaul with 1:27 left, Marcus stepped to the charity stripe and nailed two free throws. Heard finished with a season high 14 points. "I've kind of chronicled Marcus Heard all year. He did a wonderful job again," Wainwright remarked. "He's a very composed kid. I think the biggest play of the game was when he hit those two free throws to put it back up by three."
Super Sophomore Wilson Chandler also finished in double figures with 14 points and managed to snare 11 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the season.
"I have to give credit to (associate head coach) Gary DeCesare and my son (Scott Wainwright)," Wainwright said. "When we went up three we went to zone. It kind of stopped the penetration. It slowed the game. It made the last few minutes less possessions, which obviously helped us."
With the score at 70-67 with 12 seconds remaining, Crean desperately tried to call for a timeout. "This must have been the loudest building in America for the referee not hear me screaming for a timeout," Crean said.
The Golden Eagles failures at the free throw line hurt them in this game as they shot 11 of 21 on foul shots.
Marquette was led by Dominic James' 17 points. James struggled shooting for the fifth consecutive game as he went six of 17 from the field.
The Golden Eagles had four players in double figures with Dan Fitzgerald and Jerel McNeal scoring 16 apiece and Wesley Matthews chiming in with 12.
Marquette came into this game known for their uptempo style of ball and transition game. Yet it was the Blue Demons that excelled in transition. "It's the style of game that we like to play," said McNeal. "We got a little bit too caught up in our offense. We weren't doing too good of a job getting back and stopping their transition game."
"They're a pretty good fastbreak team as well," said James. "They got a lot of easy buckets. When you get easy buckets like that, they're going to gain confidence. They had a lot of confidence going down the stretch and they executed."
The Blue Demons have now won three of their last four as they head into the final four games of the regular season at 15-11 and 6-6 in conference play. "I think we're peaking in terms of our attitude," said Wainwright.
"It was a complete team effort and a great win for the program," Mejia said.
Game Notes from DePaul Sports Information
DePaul (15-11, 6-6 BIG EAST)
For the first time since becoming a member of the BIG EAST Conference the Blue Demons have won six conference contests
The win is DePaul's second straight over a ranked opponent. The Blue Demons are now 3-2 against ranked teams this season; beating No. 12 Marquette, No. 21 Notre Dame and No. 5 Kansas
DePaul improves to 11-2 at the Allstate Arena this season
Sammy Mejia led DePaul with 18 points; it is his eighth game this season leading the Blue Demons in scoring. It is also his 17th game this season with double-digit points
Wilson Chandler scored 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for his third consecutive double-double and his sixth of the season
Chandler has scored in double figures in 23 of the season's 25 games
Marcus Heard scored a season-high 14 points and scored in double figures for the eighth time this season
DePaul is now 13-0 when leading with five minutes remaining in the game and is 11-1 when leading at the half
DePaul held Marquette to .391 (25-64) shooting from the field
DePaul took the lead (12-10) with 13:55 remaining in the first half and held it until 10:00 remaining in the second half (48-49). They took the lead for good with 7:48 left in the ballgame… The win was Jerry Wainwright's first against Marquette. He is now 1-2 against the Golden Eagles.
Official Box Score
DePaul Upsets #12 Marquette, 72-67
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