Marquette-DePaul Preview


The dynamic scoring duo of Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder had a subpar showing last time out and Marquette suffered its first loss in four weeks.

Neither had any trouble scoring in their most recent matchup with DePaul, a 30-point victory just over a year ago.

Johnson-Odom and Crowder look to help the 18th-ranked Golden Eagles bounce back Monday night when they visit the Blue Demons, the Big East's worst defensive team.

Marquette (19-5, 8-3) is second in the conference in scoring at 75.4 points per game, but finished with its lowest output in Big East play in Saturday's 76-59 loss to Notre Dame. The Golden Eagles shot 39.1 percent in losing for the first time in eight games, and a large portion of those offensive woes stemmed from Johnson-Odom and Crowder's struggles.

Johnson-Odom, tied for third in the Big East in scoring at 18.0 points per game, scored 12, while Crowder misfired on 5 of 7 shots and finished with four points - 12.0 under his season average.

The two were at a bit of a disadvantage as the Golden Eagles played their second straight game without Davante Gardner (knee), third on the team with a 9.8-point average. The 6-foot-8, 290-pound Gardner is uncertain for Monday's matchup.

Although Johnson-Odom and Crowder seemed to miss Gardner, coach Buzz Williams blamed Marquette's troubles on its perimeter defense. The Golden Eagles allowed Notre Dame to go 11 of 23 from 3-point range.

"(Davante's absence is) not why we got beat,'' Williams said. "Davante wouldn't have been out there on the perimeter guarding the ball.''

Marquette could run into similar problems against DePaul, which ranks second in the Big East with 162 3-pointers.

The Blue Demons are right behind the Golden Eagles in scoring offense, averaging 74.5 points, but are also last in the conference in scoring defense at 75.1.

DePaul's defense had significant problems trying to slow down Marquette in its lone meeting last season. Johnson-Odom had 20 points and Crowder scored 18 as the Golden Eagles' starters combined for 73 points in a 94-64 victory.

Marquette has won five of the last six in the series, but suffered a 51-50 loss in its last trip to Allstate Arena in 2010. Mike Stovall hit a jumper off a loose ball with 0.7 seconds remaining to help DePaul end a 24-game Big East regular-season losing streak.

That victory hasn't done much to reverse the Blue Demons' fortunes in conference play considering they're 3-37 since. Two of those wins, however, have come this season.

Although DePaul is enjoying relative success by its own meager standards, it has still lost 35 consecutive games against ranked foes since beating No. 17 Villanova 84-76 on Jan. 3, 2008.

DePaul (11-11, 2-8) arrived in Cincinnati on Saturday with hopes of winning consecutive league road games for the first time since 2007, but lost 74-66.

Cleveland Melvin had another solid showing, finishing with 18 points on 9-of-17 shooting and a career-high 13 rebounds, but the Blue Demons turned the ball over 18 times, leading to 22 points for the Bearcats.

"We did most of what we wanted to do except take care of the basketball," coach Oliver Purnell said. "That put pressure on our offense and defense. It came back to bite us, because we couldn't get a working margin."

Melvin, tied with Johnson-Odom at 18.0 points per game, scored 20 on 9-of-13 shooting against Marquette last season.