DePaul at Georgetown
Jamorko Pickett and Jahvon Blair will try to come through for a second straight game when Georgetown hosts DePaul on Wednesday in a Big East game. The freshmen duo combined for 31 points Saturday in a double overtime win over St. John’s and will try to lead the Hoyas to a season sweep of the Blue Demons.
“They finally showed that they’re not freshmen anymore,” coach Patrick Ewing told the media of Pickett and Blair. “They still made some mistakes, but for the most part they did a lot of things for us – rebound, make shots and played great defense.” Pickett, a 6-7 forward who also posted nine rebounds and four assists, hadn’t scored in double figures since the final non-conference game, and Blair, a 6-3 guard, had alternated between good and bad games for the Hoyas. Each made a career-high four 3-pointers as the Hoyas matched their season-high with 11 treys, which helped to overcome 36.2 percent shooting from inside the arc. Max Strus rebounded from a couple off shooting nights to score 27 points against Butler, but it wasn’t enough to keep the Blue Demons from losing their third straight game and sixth of their last seven contests.
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
ABOUT DEPAUL (8-11, 1-6 Big East): Even at full strength, the Blue Demons have a tough time winning in the Big East, but they were missing one of their key components in Saturday’s loss to Butler. Marin Maric, a senior who averaged 15.3 points and 7.6 rebounds in the past seven games, missed the game because of an unspecified injury and his status is questionable for this game. Peter Ryckbosch and Paul Reed shared the forward spot in his absence, combining for nine points and 13 rebounds, but both were limited because of foul trouble.
ABOUT GEORGETOWN (13-6, 3-5): No player was more important to the win over St. John’s than Marcus Derrickson, who put up a career-high 27 points and made some key shots during both overtimes. The junior hit three free throws and a 3-pointer to send the game to a second overtime, where his two free throws accounted for the winning points. “We were using the Syracuse and Butler games as motivation,” Derrickson told the media about a pair of games in which the Hoyas blew late leads. “We didn’t want to have outcomes like those again.”
1. Georgetown’s Jessie Govan has gone three straight games without recording a double-double, the longest streak of the season for the junior center.
2. The Hoyas, who lead the series 30-8, had won six straight and 20 out of 21 games against the Blue Demons prior to losing at home in the second meeting last season.
3. With five 3-pointers against Butler, Strus has made 55 on the season, good for 15th on DePaul’s single-season list.
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DePaul at Marquette
Marquette can shoot the basketball with any team in Division I – but its hopes of reaching the NCAA Tournament will rest on its ability to prevent opposing teams from doing the same. The Golden Eagles look to bounce back from a humbling loss to Butler when it hosts DePaul on Monday.
Marquette’s tournament chances took a decent hit – at least according to the BPI – with Friday’s 94-83 loss to the Bulldogs; the Golden Eagles would have been an 88 percent favorite to participate in March Madness with a win, but fell to 74 percent with the defeat. Of greater concern, it represented the fourth time in six Big East Conference games that Marquette surrendered 90 or more points. Ending its run of poor defense in conference play is of utmost importance to head coach Steve Wojciechowski’s team heading into Monday’s encounter with DePaul, which has reached the 80-point plateau three times in its first five conference games but has just one victory to show for it. The Blue Demons are coming off their worst offensive showing in Big East competition, shooting a dismal 38.8 percent from the field while converting just 5-of-21 3-point attempts in a 71-64 loss to Providence.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
ABOUT DePAUL (8-9, 1-4 Big East): A quartet of Blue Demons players – Max Strus, Marin Maric, Tre-Darius McCallum and Eli Cain – combine for 54.7 of DePaul’s 75.4 points per game; Strus leads the way at 18.2 points per contest, but was held to just eight on 3-of-13 shooting in the loss to the Friars. Maric (13.7 points, 6.1 rebounds) poured in 15 points and hauled in seven boards in defeat, and is averaging 19.3 points while connecting on 4-of-5 3-pointers over his last three games. DePaul comes into this one as one of the top teams in the nation in offensive rebounding, ranking second in the Big East and tied for 37th among Division I teams at 12.6 offensive boards per game.
ABOUT MARQUETTE (12-6, 3-3): Tightening up on defense might be all that stands between the Golden Eagles and a legitimate shot at the NCAA Tournament; Marquette has things well taken care of on the offensive end, entering Monday ranked third in the country in free-throw success rate (79.2 percent) and 16th in 3-point field goal percentage (41.0). Second-year guard Markus Howard has been the team’s offensive catalyst; he leads the conference in scoring at 22.3 points per game – thanks in large part to an 89-point eruption in consecutive games against Providence and Villanova earlier this month – and is a perfect 55-for-55 from the foul line. Andrew Rowsey is second in the Big East at 21.3 points per game, and had 31 in Marquette’s 84-64 upset win over Seton Hall last Tuesday.
1. Howard knocked down 18 3-pointers in the two-game stretch against the Friars and Wildcats.
2. Marquette makes an average of 11.8 3-pointers per game, good for fifth nationally.
3. DePaul ranks ninth out of 10 Big East teams in field-goal percentage (43.3).
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Rutgers Scarlet Knight vs DePaul Blue Devils
Steve Pikiell looks to become the first Rutgers coach to start his tenure at 3-0 in more than 70 years when the Scarlet Knights head to Chicago to take on host DePaul on Thursday as part of the Gavitt Games (Enter Contest). The Scarlet Knights dispatched Molloy and Drexel with relative ease. Rutger gave their new coach a chance to match Donald S. White, who opened 3-0 in 1945-46.
Five players are scoring in double figures for Rutgers. Four of them are shooting better than 47 percent. Junior Nigel Johnson and senior C.J. Gettys lead the pack. The fast start is certainly encouraging for a program that lost 18 of its final 19 games under former coach Eddie Jordan, but a fairly weak non-conference schedule won’t do much for possibly contending in the Big Ten. Eli Cain followed up his solid freshman campaign with 21 points in DePaul’s season-opening victory over Robert Morris, but coach Dave Leitao will expect better. The Blue Demons were outrebounded nearly 2-1 on the offensive glass and had more turnovers than assists, a trend that cannot continue if they hope to post their first winning season since 2006-07.
ABOUT RUTGERS (2-0)
Judging by his performance so far which includes a pair of double-doubles, junior Deshawn Freeman is looking to make up for lost time. Freeman, a 6-7 forward, started last season strong by averaging 13.1 points and 5.3 rebounds, but missed the final 27 games after being suspended by Jordan for an inability of meet team requirements. Freeman, Gettys and sophomore Jonathan Laurent have combined to shoot 60.4 percent this season, which is welcome news for a program that struggled in that department in recent seasons. Mike Williams is the other Rutgers player averaging double figures and he is tops on the team in 3-point makes and attempts (5-for-13).
ABOUT DEPAUL (1-0)
Leitao, who went 58-34 in his first stint with DePaul from 2002-2005, used only nine players in the opening win and seven of them contributed significant minutes. After Cain, Tre’Darius McCallum was probably the most active player, leading the Blue Demons with eight rebounds and six assists. Billy Garrett, Jr., who averaged 12 points or better in each of his first three seasons, had 10 points to begin his final year but struggled with his shot, which has been the case throughout his career as he’s never shot 40 percent in a season.