Curry scores 25 in Providence’s win over DePaul
NEW YORK (AP)—Sharaud Curry scored 25 points and Providence held DePaul without a field goal for nearly 8 minutes to beat the surprising Blue Demons 83-74 in the second round of the Big East tournament Wednesday, enhancing its chances for an NCAA bid.
Eighth-seeded Providence (19-12), needing a good showing to help make its case for an at-large bid, got its first victory in the Big East tourney since 2003. The road gets considerably tougher, though, as the Friars face No. 1 seed and fifth-ranked Louisville in the quarterfinals Thursday.
DePaul’s Will Walker and Dar Tucker each had 31 points, the first time two teammates scored more than 30 in a Big East tournament game.
Weyinmi Efejuku scored 23 and Geoff McDermott had eight points and nine rebounds to help give coach Keno Davis his first postseason win as Providence’s coach.
The Friars took advantage of the Blue Demons’ lack of depth, denying DePaul a field goal for more than 8 minutes in the second half to turn a 62-59 deficit into a 70-62 lead with 3:36 to play.
Walker, who played 40 minutes in each game, matched a career high with his 31 points. But he went almost 13 minutes of the second half without a field goal until he made one of his six 3-pointers with less than 2 minutes to play. Tucker also failed to score for nearly 9 minutes.
Mario Stula was 3-for-3 on 3-pointers for DePaul, which shot 13-for-31 from behind the arc. The Blue Demons (9-24) had defeated Cincinnati for their first conference win of the year in the first round of a tournament expanded to include all 16 teams. They lost 24 games for the first time in their 85 years.
Providence shot 50 percent in the first to half to take a 32-31 lead behind 16 from Curry. DePaul grabbed eight offensive boards in the half but Curry made three 3-pointers down the stretch.
The Blue Demons went up 55-51 with 11:15 left in the game behind two acrobatic drives by Tucker. But the second was the last field goal for the Blue Demons until Walker made his 3 with less than 2 minutes to play. In that span, DePaul, the worst free throw shooting team in the conference, made eight of 14 shots from the line, including going 1-for-2 on a technical foul against Davis at 8:32.
When DePaul went cold, Weyinmi and Jeff Xavier picked up their play. Xavier made two of his three 3-pointers and Weyinmi scored six points to help make it 72-63.