DePaul comes up short in regular season finale loss to Marquette


Alexa Sandler/The DePaulia

DePaul senior guard Charlie Moore guards a Marquette player on Tuesday at Wintrust Arena.

For both DePaul and Marquette there isn’t much to play for anymore this season as their postseason hopes have vanished. But there is still something at stake when these two teams met on Tuesday: bragging rights.

The Blue Demons were looking to complete the season sweep over the Golden Eagles after defeating them 68-61 on Jan. 23. Marquette, however, had different ideas as they left Wintrust Arena with a 73-69 win to split the season series. 

DePaul finishes off the regular season 4-13 overall and 2-13 in the Big East, including no home wins in conference play. The Blue Demons have also secured the 11th seed in the Big East Tournament, which starts on March 10. 

It was a close, back-and-forth game until the Golden Eagles were able to make an offensive surge late in the second half. DePaul grabbed a 52-51 lead following a 7-0 run, but that would be the last time that the Blue Demons held an advantage in the game.

DePaul sophomore forward Romeo Weems rises up for a floater against Marquette on Tuesday at Wintrust Arena. (Alexa Sandler/The DePaulia)

Marquette guard D.J. Carton was the closer for his team down the stretch, scoring nine points and having one emphatic dunk. Carton and Greg Elliott knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers to extend the Golden Eagles’ lead to seven, 66-59, with 3:05 to play in the game.

“I think the second half our offense wasn’t as fluid as it needed to be,” DePaul men’s basketball head coach Dave Leitao said. “As a result, we didn’t answer what was going on in their end with enough positive possessions on our end.”

For DePaul, senior forward Pauly Paulicap was carrying the offense late in the game, scoring 11 of the team’s 13 points from the six-minute mark to the one-minute mark. He would finish the game with 20 points and eight rebounds. 

“Every game to me is just as important,” Paulicap said. “I think just tonight I just happened to get opportunities. Senior night is special, being here at DePaul is a great experience and I enjoy playing here.

The Blue Demons could not muster up any significant run in the closing minutes, with Marquette knocking down all but one free throw to ice the game. Both offenses closed out the game strongly, which was a complete contrast to the first 10 minutes of the second half.

Prior to the Blue Demons’ 7-0 run, they only scored nine points in the first 12 minutes of the second half and had seven turnovers. Marquette’s offense was a little bit better, which helped them build a 51-45 lead before DePaul found its shooting touch.

Sophomore forward Romeo Weems played a large role in keeping DePaul within striking distance when the rest of the team was out of sorts. He scored 10 of his 12 points in the second half and also finished with 10 rebounds. 

In the first half, however, senior guard Charlie Moore was the focal point of the offense, scoring seven points and dishing out three assists. He slowed down in the second half with only two points on 1-of-7 shooting. 

Marquette’s largest lead of the game came early on in the first half following a 9-0 run that put them up 18-9. DePaul was eventually able to narrow that gap with a 14-5 run in a five-minute stretch. 

Both teams traded runs to close out the first half, with DePaul going on a 6-0 run to take a 36-32 lead and Marquette responding with four straight points to end the half. 

DePaul will have more than a week to prepare for its first-round game in the Big East Tournament. Leitao talked about the importance of getting everyone healthy, with Javon Freeman-Liberty, Nick Ongenda and Oscar Lopez missing Tuesday’s game with injuries, before they travel to New York. 

It’s still undecided who the Blue Demons will face in the first game, but it will be whichever team finishes in the sixth position.