GAME NOTES: The DePaul Blue Demons have lost eight consecutive games, which is a streak they'll try to end as they travel to face the Xavier Musketeers in a Big East Conference clash at Cintas Center.
DePaul has dropped eight games in a row, and 11 of the team's past 13 contests have resulted in defeat. The Blue Demons lost an 81-64 decision to Providence on Saturday in the team's most recent outing. DePaul is 2-11 in the conference - tied for the last spot in Big East play.
Xavier ended a two-game win streak Saturday with an 81-72 defeat at the hands of Marquette. The Musketeers in general have lost four of their last six games, and now sport a 7-5 Big East record.
DePaul leads the all-time series with Xavier, 8-4. The Musketeers, though, have won the previous two matchups in the series, which have been the only two games played between the two programs in the last 40 years. Xavier won, 84-74, at DePaul earlier this season.
DePaul quickly fell behind to Providence, as the Friars went on an early run to grab a lead. Providence led by as many as 24 points late in the first half, and was able to cruise to victory over the Blue Demons. Brandon Young led the Demons in scoring with 18 points in the contest on 7-of-14 shooting, adding six rebounds to his stat line. Sandi Marcius chipped in 15 points, and Billy Garrett contributed 10 points. DePaul went 2-of-13 from 3-point range in the loss.
DePaul's leading scorer Cleveland Melvin (16.7 ppg) is no longer enrolled at the school. That leaves Young as the team's active leading scorer, checking in with 15.2 ppg with a team-leading 93 assists and 44 steals on the year. Garrett is the only other active Blue Demons player to average double-digit scoring figures at 11.5 ppg. Melvin also took his team-high 6.4 rpg average with him, so Tommy Hamilton's 5.2 rpg mark is tops on DePaul.
Xavier got some solid contributions from its star players in Saturday's loss to Marquette, but a total of 19 team turnovers killed the Musketeers in the Big East showdown. Justin Martin led Xavier with 20 points in the game, adding seven rebounds in 38 minutes of play. Matt Stainbrook scored 12 points before fouling out, and Semaj Christon chipped in 10 with six assists. Myles Davis came off the bench to score 12 points in the loss for Xavier.
Christon has been a solid all-around player for Xavier this season. The guard leads the team in scoring with 16.6 ppg on 49.3 percent shooting from the floor. His 100 assists is second on the team only behind Dee Davis' 113 assists on the year. Christon leads in steals (34) and shoots a team-best 44.8 percent from 3-point range. Stainbrook checks in with 11.1 ppg and a team-best 8.8 rpg average, while Martin comes in at third in scoring with 10.9 ppg.
DePaul has really struggled in conference play this season. Xavier is well- rounded with a strong presence in the paint and solid guard play. At home, the Musketeers should have no trouble with the Blue Demons.
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