DePaul's (6-7, 2-0) bench outscored Providence's (9-5, 0-2) by a 40-7 margin as the Blue Demons got to 2-0 in conference play for the first time in school history.
"The story of the game, not to diminish from the other kids, was our bench," said DePaul coach Jerry Wainwright. "I thought they really responded. I thought they had fresh legs and I thought they all made significant plays."
It was a night where the DePaul bench had to step up for starters that were exhausted after their upset win over 17th ranked Villanova on Thursday night. "Karron (Clarke), Draelon (Burns) and Cliff (Clinkscales), I thought they hit the wall a little bit," Wainwright said. "(Draelon) asked to come out of the game twice. That's very unlike him. He was blown out. I thought Karron was a little bit empty."
On Thursday night, DePaul got the job done with the play of their seniors. Tonight it was the underclassmen who provided the lift off the bench. It was no coincidence then that three of the four players that finished in double figures for the Demons came off the bench. Freshman Darquavis Tucker led the way with 15 points. Sophomore guard Will Walker contributed with 13 including three from beyond the arc in just 14 minutes of play. While junior guard Jabari Currie returned from injury, after sitting out the Villanova game, to score 10 points.
Walker had been feeling like the forgotten man with limited play in earlier games. "I just hope they don't forget me again," Walker said.
Tonight Walker will be remembered for a couple of key plays. The first came with DePaul leading 64-60 with 2:49 remaining. Wainwright called Walker's number out of the media timeout to nail a three pointer. "The play was drawn up for Mac (Koshwal) to run a cross screen," said Walker. "He set a good screen for me that left me wide open. It was a written up play."
What the Demons didn't expect was for Providence coach Tim Welsh to switch defenses from man-to-man to zone. "We didn't expect them to," said Walker. "They play was going to work if they went zone or man."
"Mac, Will and Jabari hung with the play, made the adjustment against zone, and obviously that was the big shot right there as Will hit the three," Wainwright said.
Walker also preserved the victory with a steal on a Friars inbounds pass with five seconds remaining and DePaul up 68-65. Walker took the ball in for a layup when PC guard Weyinmi Efejuku was called for goaltending with one second on the clock.
Efejuku led all scorers with 20 points. Jeff Xavier contributed with 15 for the Friars while center Randall Hanke chipped in with 10 points.
"At the end of the game it becomes a dogfight of who makes the plays," said Providence coach Tim Welsh. "DePaul is a very good team. They made the tough plays at the end of the game. Walker made the big three."
Freshman forward Mac Koshwal, who has been the most consistent player for the Blue Demons, had a steady night with 11 points and eight rebounds.
While Burns had a below-average night with eight points, he decided to get his teammates involved and dished out a season high six assists.
The Blue Demons are now on a four game winning streak heading into their showdown with the Georgetown Hoyas on Tuesday night at Allstate Arena.
Game Notes from DePaul Sports Information
The Blue Demons improve to 2-0 in conference play for the first time in the program's history....DePaul's 13 point halftime lead was their largest lead at half this season. The previous best was 12 against Villanova (Jan. 3) and Vanderbilt (Dec. 12). DePaul improves to 5-4 when leading at the half... Draelon Burns dished out a season-high six assists. Burns'career high is eight, which he registered against Hofstra (March 14, 2007)... Cliff Clinkscales' four assists tie him with Mark Aguirre for 16th on DePaul's all-time assist list. Both Clinkscales and Aguirre have 294 career assists... DePaul did not trail after the 11:19 mark in the first half...DePaul is on a four-game winning streak that dates back to a December 22 win over La Salle... Providence leads the all-time series, 17-6.
Bench Leads DePaul Past Providence
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