DePaul Gets Back on Winning Track

Riding a four game losing streak going into Wednesday night, the DePaul Blue Demons (5-4) got just what the doctor ordered in their hard fought 64-63 victory over the Liberty Flames (7-3) at Allstate Arena.

The hype coming into this game surrounded Liberty's freshman phenom Seth Curry. The nation's top freshman scorer came into the game averaging 21.4 ppg. Yet DePaul held Curry to just two free throws in the first half. Curry didn't get his first field goal until 11:55 was left in the game. Seth ended up leading Liberty with 16 points on four of 14 shooting from the field.

"The gameplan was to just keep him in front of us," said DePaul sophomore Dar Tucker. "We had one of our best defenders, Will Walker, on him. We just tried to tire him down. We tired him down in the first half, but he got hot (in the second half)."

"Will Walker did an unbelievable job on him," said DePaul coach Jerry Wainwright.

"Seth was a little frustrated, that's only his tenth basketball game at this level," said Liberty coach Ritchie McKay.

The Blue Demons were led by Dar Tucker's 16 points including two free throws with 1.1 seconds remaining that put DePaul ahead. Tucker admitted to being nervous when going to the charity stripe with the game on the line. "I was real nervous with the first one," said Tucker. "After I knocked it down I knew the second one was going to go in."

With no starter over 6-6, Liberty presents an interesting matchup problem for opponents with their five guard attack. "I thought it was a great defensive effort against a team that's really hard to guard," Wainwright said.

Wainwright decided to start freshman forward Devin Hill who corralled a season-high 13 rebounds and scored seven points in the contest. "I just know my role, to attack the glass and try to play good ‘D'," said Hill.

"He's got a great future and a great attitude," Wainwright said of the freshman forward. "He's certainly earned his minutes, he's worked real hard."

DePaul's most consistent performer the last three games has been sophomore forward Mac Koshwal. Koshwal finished tonight with 14 points and seven rebounds.

When DePaul had difficulty getting the ball inside against the Liberty zone in the second half, a key contributor for the Demons was freshman point guard Jeremiah Kelly who scored twice from behind the arc in the final eight minutes. "I thought Kelly hit a couple of big threes and loosened up our zone a bit," McKay said.

DePaul next plays the Jaguars of Southern University on Friday night at Allstate Arena in the second of four games that are part of the Findlay Toyota Las Vegas Classic.

Notes:

- The Blue Demons helped out at a non-profit organization on Monday as they wrapped Christmas presents at Little Brothers, Friends of the Elderly.

- The Blue Demon defense held Liberty's leading scorer Seth Curry (21.4 ppg) to just two first half points.

- DePaul is now 1354-793 all-time.

- Devin Hill led the floor with a season-high 13 rebounds

- Hill has recorded a block in eight of his last nine games and leads the team with a season total of 17

- DePaul did not allow for a single point off of a turnover in the first half

- Dar Tucker led the team in scoring for the seventh time this season with 16.

- DePaul is now 2-0 this season against teams nicknamed the Flames (beat UIC in November).

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