GAME NOTES: The DePaul Blue Demons have not tasted victory in five weeks, and they'll try once again to put an end to that slide when they welcome the Marquette Golden Eagles to Allstate Arena for a Big East Conference matchup.
Marquette saw its three-game win streak come to a halt Wednesday night as it fell to Big East leader and 11th-ranked Creighton, 85-70. The Golden Eagles are just 3-6 on the road this season, and they'll play three of their next four games in unfriendly confines.
Meanwhile, DePaul is mired in a season-long, nine-game losing streak that dates back to mid-January. The Blue Demons, who are coming off Wednesday's 83-64 setback at Xavier, will play three of their final four regular-season games at home.
Marquette holds a 69-44 edge in the all-time series and that includes a 66-56 home win over the Blue Demons on Jan. 4. The Golden Eagles have won each of the last five head-to-head meetings and 11 of the last 13 overall.
Marquette found itself trailing 64-59 against Creighton a few nights ago. But that's when Bluejays forward Doug McDermott, the nation's leading scorer, went to work as he sparked a 10-2 spurt and went on to score 17 of his 25 points in the second half to keep the Golden Eagles at bay. Of course, Marquette's defensive effort left much to be desired, considering Creighton shot better than 60 percent from the floor in each half and shot 12-of-23 from the perimeter (.522). Todd Mayo scored 13 points off the bench to pace four Golden Eagles in double figures in the loss. Davante Gardner, a 52.4-percent shooter from the floor who leads the team in scoring (14.5 ppg) and rebounding (5.7 rpg) this season, finished with only eight points in 20 minutes. Jamil Wilson (12.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg) tallied 10 points, eight rebounds and a pair of steals.
A DePaul team that was already thin on talent has had to move on without the services of top scorer and rebounder Cleveland Melvin (16.7 ppg, 6.4 rpg), who left the school a couple of weeks ago. His absence leaves Brandon Young (15.0 ppg, 4.2 rpg) and Billy Garrett (11.8 ppg) to carry the torch as the only two players averaging double figures for the Blue Demons. Of course, the recent results likely would not have made a difference even with Melvin, considering the team has lost by an average margin of nearly 17 points during its nine- game skid. Case in point: the Blue Demons shot just 35.8 percent from the field earlier this week against the Xavier Musketeers, who shot 64.3 percent and made 8-of-10 3-pointers. Garrett scored a team-high 17 points in the loss.
The Golden Eagles have certainly endured their struggles at times this season, but no other Big East team has matched the ineptitude of DePaul to this point.
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