MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Davante Gardner scored a career-high 28 points while starting for the first time in nearly two years, leading Marquette to a 66-56 victory over DePaul on Saturday.
Gardner, who is Marquette's leading scorer but has come off the bench since a Jan. 28, 2012 game at Villanova, scored 21 second-half points. With Gardner leading the way by making 10 of 11 free throws, the Golden Eagles (9-6, 1-1 Big East Conference) made 23 of 31 free throws to DePaul's two of four.
Cleveland Melvin snapped a three-game slump by scoring 22 points for the Blue Demons (8-7, 0-2). Brandon Young, DePaul's second-leading scorer at 14.4 points, missed all nine of his shots and was held scoreless.
The Golden Eagles used a 14-2 run late in the second half to take control of the game, with Gardner scoring the final seven points of the streak.
Jamil Wilson had 14 points and Todd Mayo added 10 for Marquette.
Billy Garrett was the only other DePaul player in double figures, scoring 10 points.
Charles McKinney scored on a fast break to give DePaul a 47-46 lead, its final of the game, with 5:32 to go.
Wilson then scored on a rebound and made a free throw to convert the three-point play and give Marquette the lead for good, 49-47, with 5:13 left.
Mayo hit a 3-pointer to make it 53-47, and Billy Garrett drove the lane to pull the Blue Demons within 53-49.
Gardner then scored the next seven points, making a pair of layins and hitting all three free throws he took for a 60-49 lead with 1:35 to go.
DePaul didn't threaten the rest of the game.
Gardner started in place of point guard Derrick Wilson, who had started the team's first 14 games. The Marquette point guard still played 31 minutes and scored two points and had three assists.
Gardner's previous high at Marquette was 26 points in a 74-71 win over Syracuse on Feb. 25, 2013.
Melvin's 3-pointer gave the Blue Demons a 40-30 lead with 15:40 left. Marquette's Jake Thomas hit a pair of 3-pointers to key a 14-3 run capped by Gardner's baseline layin for a 44-43 Marquette lead with 7:38 to go.
It was the Golden Eagles first lead of the game.
Melvin averaged 17.6 points in DePaul's first 11 games this season, but had struggled in the team's past three contests, averaging only seven points on nine of 32 shooting.
Melvin scored 15 points and DePaul led, 30-26, at halftime.
Freshman center Tommy Hamilton IV, who had started the team's first 14 games and was averaging 9.2 points, did not play the first half. There was no immediate explanation from DePaul why Hamilton didn't play until the second half.
Hamilton was held scoreless with no rebounds and accumulated four fouls in just six minutes.
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