Blue Demons Fire Up Intensity for Marquette
CHICAGO - Maybe Marquette will be the inspiration DePaul needs to snap a six-game losing streak.
The Golden Eagles bring their high-intensity style of play along with a vocal contingent of fans into the Allstate Arena Wednesday night for a BIG EAST Conference rivalry game that tips off at 8 p.m.
"Marquette has a lot of good players, and everything they do is done hard," said DePaul interim coach Tracy Webster. "They run hard in transition, and you can feel their hard cuts and moves.
"They defend the ball hard as well as cross-screens and down-screens. Everything they do is intense, and we have to match their intensity---at the very least."
Webster has first-hand experience with a Marquette rivalry.
"When I played at Wisconsin, we played Marquette every year," Webster said. "They bring a big crowd, and I know how intense their crowd is. This is going to bring more excitement for our guys.
"People can talk all they want about this being just another game---no way. This is a rivalry game, for sure, and our guys will be ready for it."
Webster has yet to see DePaul (7-10, 0-5 in the BIG EAST) put together a 40-minue performance this season.
"We have to be ready to play well for 40 minutes by taking it four minutes at a time," Webster said. "Against St. John's, our zone defense was working in the first half, and we started out like that in the second half.
"Maybe we should have come out with something a little different."
St. John's opened the second half with a 22-4 run en route to a 67-47 victory last Sunday in Queens, N.Y.
Marquette (11-6, 2-3) will be shooting for its first true road victory behind 6-foot, 6-inch Lazar Howard (18.8 points, 7.4 rebounds per game), 6-6 Jimmy Butler (15.2 points, 6.5 rebounds) and Darius Johnson-Odom (12.2 points). The Golden Eagles are averaging 77 points a game while holding their opponents to 62.6.
"Offensively, we're struggling," Webster said about his team that is averaging 59.9 points per game. "Maybe we need to run more set plays. At the same time, I still want them to go off reactions, too.
"You've got to be opportunistic and get run-outs when you get the chance. And, we have to finish. On Sunday we had the best transition opportunity ever---and missed the shot."
Webster did see a silver lining from Sunday's loss.
"The encouraging point in my eyes is we worked hard to create opportunities in the paint and didn't just settle for three-pointers," he said. "If we continue to do that, sooner or later the shots will fall.
"I just hope it's sooner than later."
Is it time to get mad and refuse to take it anymore?
"Yes, that time is right now," Webster responded. "It's time to get ticked off. But let's not wait until game time to do it. Let's start in practice.
"Let's get mad and play hard."