No. 11/10 Marquette Stops DePaul
MILWAUKEE (AP) Jerel McNeal scored 21 points, Wesley Matthews had 20 and Lazar Hayward added 16 points and 17 rebounds to lead No. 11 Marquette to a 79-70 victory over DePaul on Saturday that kept the Golden Eagles undefeated in the Big East.
It is the best start ever for Marquette (17-2, 6-0) in conference play, topping a 5-0 mark 16 years ago when the Golden Eagles were known as the Warriors and played in the Great Midwest. That team also started 17-2.
This one has done it with its vaunted pressure defense and by protecting its homecourt, going 13-0 at the Bradley Center.
Dar Tucker scored 18 points for DePaul (8-12, 0-7), while Will Walker had 17 and Mac Koshwal 14.
Marquette, which also got 10 points from Dwight Burke, went cold to start the second half, missing nine of its first 10 shots and failing to score for one 4 1/2-minute stretch.
The Golden Eagles shot just 32 percent in the second half, but Marquette's defense kept the Blue Demons at bay. Trailing by as many as 15 points, DePaul got as close as 55-48 on a free throw by Tucker.
McNeal, who had six steals, answered with two free throws and Dominic James, who finished with eight points and nine assists, made a steal and scored on a layup that gave Marquette a comfortable lead the rest of the way.
DePaul, which started four guards, committed 16 turnovers after opening with a 5-0 lead. But it didn't take long for Marquette to take control and James' no-look pass to Hayward for a fastbreak layup gave the Golden Eagles a 31-19 lead that they stretched to 48-34 at halftime.