DePaul 85, No. 21 Cincinnati 66
ROSEMONT, Ill. (AP)—DePaul made sure from the start the rematch with Cincinnati would be different.
Quemont Greer scored 25 points and Drake Diener added 22 to lead the Blue Demons to an 85-66 victory over No. 21 Cincinnati on Saturday.
The Bearcats beat DePaul 83-54 in Cincinnati on Jan. 6, but the Blue Demons dominated almost every phase of the rematch to win their fourth straight game and eighth of nine.
DePaul was aggressive offensively right from the start, something the Blue Demons didn’t do the first time they played Cincinnati.
“That was our game plan coming into today, to just attack and be aggressive and get to the basket. We have great players so we were able to finish,” said DePaul’s Sammy Mejia, who had 16 points and 10 rebounds. “We were really aggressive offensively and they seemed kind of surprised.”
Leading 57-45 with 14:33 left, DePaul (16-5, 8-2 Conference USA) went on a 16-4 run. Mejia started the spurt with a 3-pointer and had nine points in it. Cincinnati coach Bob Huggins was called for a technical foul for arguing with an official during the span. Mejia capped the run with consecutive jumpers that extended the lead to 73-49 with 9:03 to play.
Diener hit his sixth 3 of the game to increase DePaul’s lead to 79-54 with 6:22 left in the game.
“The way they took it to us at their place (and) to come back from that really shows us how far we have come,” Diener said.
Eric Hicks had 22 points for Cincinnati (18-6, 6-4), which has lost three straight conference games. Jason Maxiell scored 18 points for the Bearcats, who were outrebounded 39-28.
Huggins wasn’t thrilled with Cincinnati’s schedule, that had them playing at Charlotte on Saturday, then Xavier on Thursday in Cincinnati, while DePaul had almost a week to prepare after playing at Saint Louis on Sunday.
“It’s not right, it’s wrong, it’s not fair to the kids,” Huggins said.
But Huggins didn’t want to take anything away from DePaul.
“They were absolutely terrific. They had an answer for everything we tried to do,” Huggins said.
Greer was 8-of-13 from the field, including 3-for-5 from 3-point range. He played only 8 minutes in the first half because of foul trouble, but scored 16 points in the second half.
LeVar Seals banked in a jump shot to give DePaul a 41-28 lead with 2:05 left in the first half and the Blue Demons were up 43-33 at halftime. DePaul was able to penetrate for easy baskets and Huggins tried to send a message by playing seldom-used freshman walk-on Ryan Patzwald late in the first half.