Blue Demons Fall in BIG EAST First Round
NEW YORK - Will Walker scored 20 points in his final collegiate game, but DePaul couldn't overcome a 15-point deficit built by USF at halftime in the first round of the BIG EAST Championship on Tuesday. Dominique Jones led the Bulls with 20 points as they knocked of the Blue Demons, 58-49, at Madison Square Garden.
Tony Freeland put DePaul ahead with the first basket of the game, but USF answered with eight straight points to take an 8-2 lead on a basket by Jarrid Famous with 15:23 left in the first half.
Back-to-back scores by Mac Koshwal and Walker pulled DePaul (8-23) to within two before USF scored seven consecutive points capped by a Jones free throw for a 15-6 advantage.
The deficit increased to as many as 19 points with just under three minutes left until intermission before USF (20-11) took a 30-15 lead at the end of the first half. DePaul shot just .226 (7-31) from the field in the first half while the 15 matched a season low for scoring in a half.
DePaul outscored USF, 16-6, to start the second half and pulled to within five points on a three-pointer by Jeremiah Kelly with 12:34 left. However, that would be as close as the Blue Demons would get as USF scored eight in-a-row over the next three minutes.
Walker knocked down four three-pointers to finish with 20 points and added five rebounds. Koshwal pulled down 10 rebounds and scored eight points while Freeland pulled down nine rebounds and score seven points.
Mike Mercer chipped in 14 points for USF and Chris Howard totaled nine points, six rebounds and six assists.