With the victory, Notre Dame (22-6, 12-4) clinched a bye in the Big East tournament in New York City next week. DePaul (10-18, 5-11) was left searching for a win to help them stay in the top 12 in the league to earn a trip to New York.
While it was a day to honor the four DePaul seniors - Draelon Burns, Karron Clarke, Cliff Clinkscales, and Wesley Green, none of the four reached double figures. Instead it was the DePaul underclassmen that led a Blue Demons comeback charge in the second half.
DePaul trailed by as many as 28 with 17:11 to go in the game. At that point, DePaul coach Jerry Wainwright pulled his four seniors from the lineup and inserted junior guard Jabari Currie, junior forward Matija Poscic, sophomore guard Will Walker, and freshman forward Mac Koshwal.
"I thought our older guys at that point in time had kind of hit the wall," said DePaul coach Jerry Wainwright. "We've got five young (sets of) legs there. I thought we really needed to step up the pace and play smaller and kind of do what they do, spread the court a little bit and attack them."
With the younger lineup, the Blue Demons closed to within seven on a Currie layup with 2:12 left in the game. "They played hard and they played together," Wainwright said. "All of the sudden we found a combination that kind of worked and we (almost) closed the gap."
It was the DePaul freshmen that showed promise for the future, with both Koshwal and Darquavis Tucker recording career highs. Tucker led all scorers with 28 points on 10 of 18 shooting, with six of nine from behind the arc, and seven rebounds. Koshwal scored 23 on eight of 13 shooting and corralled 10 rebounds for a double-double in just 25 minutes of play.
"I thought our young crew played without any inhibition in the second half and really got it going," Wainwright observed. "I was encouraged by the fact that they battled and didn't give an inch."
Walker and Currie contributed 11 and 10 points respectively coming off the bench. DePaul's bench scored 45 points in the contest.
Sophomore forward Luke Harangody led the Irish with 24 points on 11 of 18 shooting and nine rebounds in the high-scoring affair. Forward Rob Kurz contributed with 21 points on eight of 14 shooting. Kyle McAlarney and Luke Zeller chipped in with 13 apiece for Notre Dame.
Game Notes: Dar Tucker led DePaul with a career-high 28 points, 22 of which were scored in the second half. His previous career-high of 26 came on December 15 against UIC... Mac Koshwal followed with a career-high 23 points. His previous career-high high of 21 came against Vanderbilt on December 12... with eight assists, Cliff Clinkscales moved to ninth on DePaul's all-time assist list. His 364 career assists moved him past Ron Norwood (356) and Dave Corzine (360)... Wesley Green scored eight points with three rebounds and two blocks on his senior day... DePaul outrebounded Notre Dame, 41-35... Notre Dame led by 28 points with 17:11 remaining in the second half... Luke Harangody led the Irish with 24 points, while Rob Kurz followed with 21 points... Notre Dame hit 13 three-point field goals... Notre Dame now leads the all-time series 54-44. The Irish have won the last three meetings between the two teams... the game's attendance of 16,934 is the largest DePaul home crowd of the season.
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