DePaul 71, Xavier 67
When: 9:30 PM ET, Wednesday, March 11, 2020
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York
Recap for Digital Sports Desk by Field Level Media
NEW YORK – Paul Reed scored a game-high 23 points and grabbed 12 rebounds Wednesday night as 10th-seeded DePaul dealt No. 7 seed Xavier a potentially crushing blow to its NCAA Tournament hopes with a 71-67 upset in the first round of the Big East Conference Tournament.
Charlie Moore added 18 points and nine assists for the Blue Demons (16-16), who advance to Thursday night’s quarterfinals against second-seeded Villanova. Jaylen Butz chipped in 11 points, including a transition layup on a pretty bounce pass from Moore that gave DePaul a 66-63 lead with 2:47 left.
Tyrique Jones scored 22 points for the Musketeers (19-13), who were considered on the NCAA tourney bubble before tip-off. Freshman Zach Freemantle added 18, while Naji Marshall finished with 15 points, eight assists and eight rebounds.
Reed supplied the clincher by canning the front end of a one-and-one with 6.7 seconds left to make it a two-possession game. Marshall’s 3-pointer under heavy guarding fell short just before time expired, enabling the Blue Demons to win their first conference tourney game since 2014.
DePaul made 45.5 percent of its shots from the field, and Xavier made 45 percent, but missed nine of its last 10 attempts.
The Musketeers started the game like a team that knew they couldn’t afford to take a loss. The Musketeers opened up a 15-9 lead just over seven minutes into the game when Freemantle converted Jason Carter’s offensive rebound into a bucket.
But DePaul promptly ripped off a 9-2 run in just over 2 1/2 minutes, taking the lead on Reed’s stickback at the 10:22 mark that made it 18-17. A 10-0 spurt later in the half gave the Blue Demons a 30-22 advantage when Moore converted a transition layup with 4:55 left.
Another fast-break layup by Moore upped the margin to 35-24 inside the final four minutes. Xavier made a 10-3 push down the stretch of the half, with Freemantle draining a 3-pointer with 33 seconds remaining to cut the deficit to 38-34 at intermission.