Marquette hosts DePaul looking for third straight W

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A not-so-funny thing happens lately when Marquette grabs a double-digit lead -- the Golden Eagles seemingly grow timid as their opponents push back.

"When we hit adversity, our group tends to go into a shell and not come together," Marquette guard D.J. Carton said. "So we've put a lot of emphasis on that in practice lately. When we go through adversity, we've just got to come together. Settle down and just understand that we're going through adversity. We've got to identify it and then find ways and work with each other to get through it."

Marquette (8-6, 4-4 Big East) has built a double-digit advantage in three straight games, but watched each one shrink or disappear altogether. It's a trend the Eagles will try to address Saturday when they host DePaul at Milwaukee.

A double-digit lead evaporated in the Golden Eagles' most recent game on Jan. 16 before a late layup from Koby McEwen gave Marquette the final edge in a 73-71 victory at St. John's.

"Koby's got a very tough mentality," Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski said. "Generally guys who deliver down the stretch want the ball and are willing to live with the repercussions of having the ball at the end of the game."

DePaul (2-5, 0-5) would appreciate such a luxury. The Blue Demons have lost six in a row in conference play dating back to last season after falling 67-53 to visiting Butler on Wednesday.

The Bulldogs surged to a big early lead and led by as many as 25 points in the second half. DePaul had multiple opportunities to trim the deficit to single digits in the final minutes, but went without a field goal over the final 5:26 while scoring just six points during that span.

DePaul opened the game just 4-of-22 from the field.

Blue Demons coach Dave Leitao challenged his team to remain mentally tough through the course of the game, continuing to defend and rebound even if shots weren't falling.

"I've said it in the first two or three timeouts to just stay the course. Stay the course, and eventually, those shots would go in," Leitao said. "But you have to have a foundation that you lean on when things that you expect to go well, don't go well. I think young people, especially, judge success sometimes on two very specific things: how much they play and how much they score.

"I'm not saying that was the specific reason, but the shoulders drop all of a sudden, and all of a sudden everything that you are trying to do that has a lot to do with success, all of those details go astray."

Kobe Elvis scored 10 of his team-high 12 points in the second half for DePaul. The Golden Eagles have won eight of 10 in the rivalry, and lead the all-time series 79-48. The teams split a pair of meetings last season.

--Field Level Media