NCAA Division I Sports
NCAA Division I Sports
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The memory of their weekend collapse at Louisville is going to linger for quite some time.
The Big East waits for no team, though, and the Marquette Golden Eagles put it in the rear-view mirror as best they could Tuesday night by throttling the DePaul Blue Demons, 94-64, at the Bradley Center.
Jimmy Butler and Darius Johnson-Odom scored 20 points apiece, and Jae Crowder added 18 points, nine rebounds and six assists as MU (13-6, 4-2) set a new high for points in a Big East game this season while also matching the biggest margin of victory at 30.
Key in the win was a 24-6 run over the final 9 minutes 26 seconds of the first half that turned a 23-22 DePaul lead into a 46-29 halftime advantage for the Golden Eagles. MU kept the pressure on the rest of the way in closing out the Blue Demons (6-12, 0-6).
“We just needed to work on finishing,” said Butler, who added eight rebounds and tied a career high with four steals.
“I think we played Louisville the same way, got up the same way, but we got comfortable, and obviously they came back and won the game. We were much more focused on finishing the game and had to make sure we came out with the win this time.”
MU also scored 40 points off 22 Blue Demons turnovers, and scored 50 points in the paint against a DePaul team that has now lost 18 consecutive Big East games dating to last season. Its last league win came against MU, nearly a year ago.
“I thought they were awfully good defensively, they did a terrific job of being relentless on the offensive glass, and when they started shooting the ball well from the perimeter, we were in trouble.”
The game see-sawed early, with Cleveland Melvin's three-point play giving DePaul its 23-22 lead at the 9:26 mark. A free throw by Johnson-Odom tied it, and then a three-pointer from the right corner by the junior guard got the Golden Eagles back into the driver's seat.
From there, they steadily lengthened their lead with a combination of stifling defense, crisp ball movement and aggressive offense. After a Jimmy Drew layup pulled the Blue Demons to within 34-29 with 4:31 remaining, MU closed the half on a 12-0 run, capped by a Butler dunk out of a timeout in the closing seconds, to make it 46-29 at intermission.
A 10-0 run early in the second half stretched MU's lead to 61-36, and the rout was on.
“We were hoping to get the game into the second half,” Purnell said. “Once they got the lead and the momentum and they smelled blood, you could sense it, you could see it. A very determined team, and you've got to give them credit for the way they bounced back. They came in here with a hard edge and obviously kind of grabbed the game by the throat.”
Asked what he'd gleaned from the tape in the wake of the 71-70 loss at Louisville that saw MU lose an 18-point lead with 5:44 left, Golden Eagles coach Buzz Williams simply took blame for the letdown.
“The more I watched it, the more it's my fault,” he said. “I took the 'L' for our team. There's no way you can be ahead 18, 34½ minutes into the game with three timeouts left, and not be able to help your team more than I did.
“I would say that it's the first time as a head coach that I directly felt 1,000% responsible.”