DePaul Comeback Falls Short vs. Cincinnati

The Blue Demons dropped to 0-5 in the Big East as their second half comeback attempt fell short in their 59-55 loss to the Cincinnati Bearcats at Allstate Arena on Saturday afternoon.

Cincinnati (12-6, 2-3) led by as many as 15 with 7:07 remaining in the game. DePaul (8-10, 0-5) held the Bearcats without a field goal over the final eight minutes. The Blue Demons pulled within one at 56-55 with 1:21 remaining on a pair of free throws by junior guard Will Walker.

After Cincinnati freshman guard Dion Dixon made one of two free throws with 25.8 seconds left, Dar Tucker had an opportunity to take the lead for the Demons as his three point shot fell off the mark.

Deonta Vaughn then sealed the victory for the Bearcats by nailing a pair from the charity stripe with four seconds left as the Bearcats earned their first Big East road win. Vaughn led all scorers with 18 points, 16 of which came in the first half.

Transfer Mike Williams chipped in with 13 points and seven rebounds.

DePaul was led by Walker, who scored 17 including four of eight from beyond the arc. Sophomores Tucker and Mac Koshwal contributed with 15 points apiece, but no other Demon was able to muster more than two points.

The Bearcats dominated on the glass by a 36-24 margin and held Koshwal to a season-low of five rebounds in the contest. Cincinnati focused on keeping Koshwal off the boards. "That was very important because the games we lost we lacked in rebounding," said freshman forward Yancy Gates. "That's one of our goals to keep the other team off the boards."

"That was big," Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin said of Koshwal. "Obviously he's top ten in the nation in rebounding. He has to do a whole lot for them. We were able to rotate two guys on him in Gates and (Steven) Toyloy."

"We slid out with a W," added Cronin. "I was real pleased with our guys' effort. Our energy and our commitment to defense improves with every game we play."

DePaul was unable to get any firepower from three point range other than the four trifectas by Walker.

"We really felt like we were going to get the win tonight," Walker said. "The bench was really into it. Everyone was into it. We really haven't had that the last few games. So that's another step forward we're taking."

The Blue Demons had a week off between games to practice and prepare for this game. "It helped us really get into a groove on defense," Walker remarked. "We were working a lot on defense after the last game. Just having Coach (Jerry Wainwright) on us hard about playing harder. Watching tape throughout the week to just let us know how lackadaisical we were the last game and how much we need to step it up to be a contender in the Big East."

Wainwright started Croatian natives Mario Stula and Matija Poscic together for the first time along with Tucker, Koshwal, and Walker. Wainwright planned to use Tucker at point guard in attempt to go with a bigger lineup to counter Cincinnati's press.

The Blue Demons now go on a two game Big East road trip to South Florida on Tuesday and Marquette on Saturday.

Hall of Fame Induction Weekend

Former Blue Demons David Booth and Stephen Howard will be inducted into the DePaul Hall of Fame on the weekend of February 28th.

A Memorial Service will be held on March 1st for DePaul Hall of Fame inductees - track coach Don Amidei and basketball star Curtis Watkins who both passed away in 2008.

Other Notes:

-DePaul is 0-5 to start conference play for the first time since the 2001-02 season.. that squad started the Conference USA schedule at 0-5.

- Tonight's loss runs DePaul's losing streak to five games... it marks DePaul's longest losing streak of the season (started Dec. 31, 2008 against Notre Dame).

- Will Walker marked a season-best with his four three-pointers on the night (4-8)... he led the Blue Demons with 17 points off of 5-11 from the field.

- DePaul is now 4-2 in games decided withing five points this season.

- Walker is still perfect from the line (5-5) in BIG EAST play this season after going 3-3 in tonight's contest.

- Mac Koshwal was held to a season-low 5 rebounds in tonight's contest... he grabbed seven rebounds at California and against Liberty this season.

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