Blue Demons Fall in BIG EAST First Round
March 6, 2012
NEW YORK (AP) - Jeremy Lamb scored 25 points and Ryan Boatright added 19 to lead Connecticut to an 81-67 victory over the DePaul on Tuesday in the opening round of the Big East tournament.
The ninth-seeded Huskies (19-12) will play eighth-seeded West Virginia in the second round on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.
"I'm disappointed it's over," DePaul coach Oliver Purnell said, "but we lost to a better team today."
The Huskies started shooting like a team destined to again do big things in the postseason. They made their first seven 3-point attempts and were 7 of 9 from beyond the arc in taking a 46-33 lead.
A 15-4 run to start the second half, capped by a 3 by Roscoe Smith, gave Connecticut a 61-37 lead with 14:47 to play.
Unlike last year when the Huskies went on to a 97-71 win, the Blue Demons found a way to make a game of it. An 11-0 run got DePaul within 63-51 with 11:09 to play and the Blue Demons were able to get within 70-61 on a 3 by Morgan with 7:15 to play.
"I really admired our guys' fighting spirit to get back into the game in the second half," Purnell said, "but we couldn't keep them off the offensive boards in the second half and they just got enough in transition."
Lamb had four points in a 6-0 run that got the Huskies straightened out and the Blue Demons were never closer than 12 points the rest of the way.
The Huskies, who came in fourth in the country with 6.7 blocks per game, blocked 10 shots against DePaul with Drummond and Oriakhi getting four each. DePaul shot just 32.4 percent from the field (23 of 71), the 12th time in the last 21 games an opponent didn't shoot 40 percent against the Huskies.