Eighth ranked Marquette (20-2, 9-0) never trailed in the contest and notched their 12th straight victory. MU was led by their trio of senior guards all of whom finished in double-figures. Jerel McNeal led the way for the Golden Eagles with 26 points, Wes Matthews contributed 20 and Dominic James finished with 15 points.
Tucker sprained his left ankle when stepping on a teammate's foot during DePaul's (8-15, 0-10) afternoon shootaround at Allstate Arena. "Dar's had an ankle injury all year," said DePaul coach Jerry Wainwright. "He hasn't been 100% for a couple of weeks, but he's played through it. Right before warmups he said ‘Coach, I can't push off, I can't jump'."
In Tucker's absence, Will Walker stepped up to lead all scorers with 30 points for his second straight career high scoring game. "I just let it come to me and be aggressive," Walker said.
Marquette jumped out to fast start and led by 18 with 11:52 to play in the first half. It was then that DePaul awoke from their slumber and went on a run. The Blue Demons closed to within five points with the score at intermission at 42-37.
"I thought we were really good the first eight minutes of the first half," said Marquette coach Buzz Williams. "I thought the next 12 minutes DePaul was perfect and we were as bad as you could possibly be on both ends of the floor."
The Golden Eagles transition offense proved difficult for the Demons in the second half as they pulled away from DePaul. Marquette scored 16 points off of fast breaks and were one of the fastest teams that the Demons have faced. "It's the quickest team by far," said Walker.
DePaul outrebounded their opponent for the first time in Big East play as they held a 35-29 lead on the boards tonight.
With Tucker out of action, DePaul's freshmen guards – Michael Bizoukas and Jeremiah Kelly managed to get valuable playing time. Bizoukas dished out eight assists. Kelly played 35 minutes off the bench including the entire second half.
Wainwright sent a message to his younger players tonight. "I told them before the game, Dar Tucker is not playing, don't you dare waste this opportunity to get meaningful minutes and experience."
Next up for DePaul is another top ten team as the Pitt Panthers come to town on Saturday.
#8 Marquette Cruises Past DePaul
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