PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – Jeremiah Kelly scored a career-high 23 points to help end DePaul’s 24-game losing streak in Big East play with a 79-76 victory over Providence Thursday night.It was the Blue Demons’ first conference victory since they defeated Marquette over a year ago, and their first road victory since they topped Cincinnati on March 6, 2008.
Cleveland Melvin scored 20 points for DePaul (7-18, 1-12) and Brandon Young put up 17, including 15 in the second half.
The Blue Demons built a 10-point halftime lead as starting Friar forwards Kadeem Batts and Bilal Dixon each had three fouls before the break. Providence (14-12, 3-10) slowly came back though, eventually tying the score at 58.
DePaul put together a quick 8-1 spurt to regain control, but the Friars’ Marshon Brooks would not back down. He banked in a shot to bring Providence within four, 69-65, and then converted a three-point play to trim the margin to one at 69-68.
The Blue Demons answered with a free throw and a hook shot to go back up four, but Brooks came back with another three-point play and DePaul led 72-71. With 57 seconds left, Kelly hit a 3-pointer to bring the margin back to four, but Vincent Council’s 3-pointer made it a one-point game again.
Then the Friars were forced to foul, and Kelly sank both free throws. Brooks followed with a layup, and DePaul’s Jimmy Drew missed his one-and-one free throw. The Friars had the last shot, but turned the ball over.
Brooks desperately tried to foul Kelly, resulting in an intentional foul with less than a second left. Kelly made two free throws to cap the scoring.
Brooks, the nation’s third-leading scorer, led Providence with 28 points, including 10 of his team’s final 13. Duke Mondy added 17 points and seven rebounds.
DePaul shot 75 percent from the free-throw line (15 of 20), while Providence could only manage to go 14 for 24.