MILWAUKEE -- Marquette was able to pull away late from a pesky DePaul team Saturday afternoon, moving into first place in the Big East with an 89-78 win at BMO Harris Bradley Center.
Vander Blue led the Golden Eagles (17-5, 8-2 Big East) with 18 points while Junior Cadougan added 17. Brandon Young had 19 for the Blue Demons (10-13, 1-9 Big East), while reserve Worrel Clahar tied a career high with 16.
As they have done all year, the Blue Demons were solid from beyond the arc to stay in the contest late. Three-pointers on successive possessions, including two from Clahar, pulled the Blue Demons as close as four, 75-71, inside six minutes. The third 3-pointer, from Donnavan Kirk, gave him a career-high 16 points.
Clahar and Davante Gardner exchanged baskets, with Gardner's three-point play extending the Golden Eagles' lead to 80-73. The Blue Demons again were bit by defensive lapses despite another impressive offensive showing, and Marquette made free throws down the stretch to ice Big East win No. 8.
A turning point in the action occurred when Cleveland Melvin picked up his fourth foul with 13:09 left, sending him to the bench. The Blue Demon offense struggled after, turning the ball over on three straight possessions.
But Marquette couldn't capitalize, and back-to-back fast-break layups from Charles McKinney and Montray Clemons pulled DePaul back within five, 64-59. Marquette sophomore Todd Mayo answered with four straight to push the lead back to nine.
Melvin finished with nine points, his lowest total in four games.
The teams traded baskets to open the second half, and two free throws by Brandon Young pulled the Blue Demons within three, 47-44. As the Blue Demons began to heat up from beyond the arc -- Kirk, Edwin McGhee and Young made jumpers on consecutive possessions -- Cadougan took over for Marquette.
The senior point guard at one point scored 12 of 19 Marquette points to maintain pace with the up-tempo Blue Demons. That helped Marquette open their largest lead of the afternoon, 61-52.
The Golden Eagles used a 14-8 run to close the first half and take a 43-38 lead. Cadougan had 10 points in the half, and Young scored eight for the Blue Demons.
Clahar's 3-pointer at the 5:26 mark was DePaul's fourth of the half and pulled them to within 29-28. Clahar added a layup on the next possession, giving them a one-point advantage.
Marquette used a 12-2 run midway through the half to take an 18-12 lead, dominating the Blue Demons in the paint and on the glass.
The Golden Eagles, who rank last in the Big East in 3-point shooting, got 14 of their first 18 points inside the paint.
Gardner, who totaled 14 points his previous three games, scored seven in a row in just over a minute to give the Golden Eagles a 26-23 lead. Gardner finished with 13.
Marquette scored 20 of its 34 points in the paint and held a 14-9 advantage on the glass.
NOTES: With Melvin's 3-pointer at the 19:03 mark, DePaul has connected from beyond the arc in 602 straight games. ... Buzz Williams wore a 1970s style suit in honor of the late Al McGuire; Saturday was Al McGuire Day. ... Melvin was assessed a technical foul in the first half after blocking Cadougan's layup. ... Young collected six assists, giving him more than 100 for the third straight season. ... Blue failed to make a 3-pointer, ending his run of 11 straight games with a make from beyond the arc.