Give credit to the Blue Demons, they fought hard.
DePaul men’s basketball opened the Big East with the daunting task of having to face Georgetown on the road, a team that went 16-1 at home last season. Las Vegas odds-makers tabbed the Blue Demons as a 13.5-point underdog.
The game was much closer than that, but DePaul couldn’t score when it counted.
DePaul’s shooting woes continued Tuesday as Georgetown earned a 61-54 victory in the first Big East game of the season. The game was part of Fox Sports 1’s five-game Big East Hoops Marathon.
The Blue Demons (8-6, 0-1) shot 32.1 percent from the field, continuing a recent trend of struggling to score. DePaul shot 36.8 percent at Northwestern and 35.3 percent at Illinois State.
Despite the offensive struggles, DePaul was able to frustrate the Hoyas. They took their first lead of the game when Brandon Young inbounded the ball off a Georgetown defender to himself and scored an easy bucket.
The Blue Demons went on a 15-2 run in the first half to give themselves a 23-15 lead.
Georgetown (9-3, 1-0) answered back by switching to a full-court press, sparking an 11-2 run. The Hoya’s Aaron Bowen hit a turnaround three pointer at the buzzer, giving Georgetown a 29-25 lead at halftime.
In the second half, Georgetown switched to a 2-3 zone that would initially give DePaul problems. The Hoyas took a lead of nine with 15:28 left.
The Blue Demons, however, would cut the lead to two, thanks to a 7-0 run. Guards Brandon Young and Billy Garrett Jr. were instrumental in that run by slashing the zone and breaking it down.
Garrett Jr., who earned his third Big East Rookie of the Week award Monday, led the Blue Demons with 17 points. Young finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and two assists.
Georgetown would again establish control and had 11-point lead with four minutes left. DePaul showed life after Garrett hit a three to cut the lead to eight. Cleveland Melvin would come up with a crucial block, which gave Charles McKinney an easy transition bucket as the Blue Demons came within six.
The Hoyas clinched the game in the final minute with free throws and solid defense. Both team failed to capitalize from the line as Georgetown shot 53 percent (15-28) and DePaul shot 50 percent (13-26).
Markel Starks led Georgetown with 21 points and played all 40 minutes.
DePaul’s four game road-trip concludes with a visit to rival Marquette on Saturday.