Providence defeats DePaul 77-72

SARAH TROTTO (Associated Press)
The Associated Press

ROSEMONT, Ill. (AP) -- Bryce Cotton scored 28 points to lead Providence to a 77-72 win over DePaul on Saturday afternoon.

R.J. Curington led DePaul (10-12, 2-7 Big East) with a career-high 22 points.

LaDontae Henton added 19 points and Tyler Harris had 18 for Providence (16-6, 6-3), which led by as many as 16 points in the first half before DePaul tied it with 7 minutes left in the second half.

Providence has won six of its last seven games.

The Blue Demons never led in the game and have lost four straight and seven of their last nine.

DePaul was once again without three key players. Leading scorer Cleveland Melvin missed his second straight game due to a suspension. Melvin was seventh in the Big East in scoring at 16.7 points per game entering Saturday. Point guard Billy Garrett Jr. (illness) and guard Charles McKinney (sprained ankle) also were out for the second straight game.

DePaul tied it at 62 on Edwind McGhee's jumper with 7:01 remaining.

The Blue Demons had trailed for all but the first 15 seconds of the game. Providence regained the lead on Henton's layup with 6:30 left, and Cotton hit a 3-pointer with 5:40 remaining.

The Blue Demons got to within three on Tommy Hamilton IV's layup with 2:22 left. Henton and Cotton combined for three free throws for a 72-66 lead before Brandon Young's layup cut the lead to 72-68 with 33.3 seconds left. Cotton extended Providence's lead to 76-68 with two more free throws and a dunk with 14.4 seconds remaining.

Cotton scored 17 of his points after halftime. He is second in the Big East in scoring at 20.5 points per game.

Hamilton added 13 points and Young had 12 for DePaul.

Providence shot 53.2 percent to DePaul's 41.8 percent. The Blue Demons went 8 for 20 from 3-point range.

DePaul pulled to within one on Curington's layup with 18:08 remaining.

Cotton responded with five straight points to give Providence a 47-41 lead. The Friars extended the lead to 57-46.

Providence led 42-37 at halftime after shooting 60.7 percent from the field compared to DePaul's 41.4 percent. Both teams were 4 for 9 from 3-point range. The Blue Demons kept in the game by shooting 9 of 11 from the free-throw line. DePaul's bench outscored Providence's reserves 22-0.

DePaul went on an 8-0 run to cut the lead to 32-24 with 3:34 before halftime.

Forrest Robinson hit a 3-pointer with 2.8 seconds before the break to pull DePaul to within 42-37. The Blue Demons intercepted the inbounds pass, but Hamilton's dunk attempt arrived after the buzzer.

The Friars improved to 23-8 all-time against DePaul.

DePaul beat Providence 83-73 in their previous meeting.

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