March 11, 2009
NEW YORK, N.Y. - The Providence College men's basketball team (19-12) defeated DePaul University (9-24) in a BIG EAST Tournament second round game by a score of 83-74 on Wednesday, March 11 at Madison Square Garden. Sharaud Curry (Gainesville, Ga.) and Weyinmi Efejuku (Fresh Meadows, N.Y.) combined for 48 points to lead the Friars. Curry posted 25, while Efejuku netted 23, including 15 points in the decisive second half.
PC opened the game with a 6-2 advantage but DePaul responded with a 10-3 run to take a 12-9 lead behind 10 early points from sophomore Dar Tucker. A fastbreak lay-in from Mac Koshwal extended the Blue Demons lead to 19-13 with 9:51 to go in the half and a 3-pointer by Will Walker gave DePaul a nine point advantage (25-16).
Effective pressure defense from the Friars led to two 3-point field goals from Curry and a lay-in by Efejuku, part of a 7-0 run to move PC within one at 25-24 at the 6:17 mark of the first half.
Two consecutive 3-pointers by DePaul sophomore Mario Stula helped the Demons regain a 31-27 advantage, but a 3-point bank shot by Curry at the buzzer propelled the Friars to a 32-31 lead at intermission.
PC shot an impressive 50 percent (12-24) from the field in the half, including a 5-for-10 performance from behind the 3-point arc. Curry paced the Friars with 16 first-half points and shot 80 percent (4-5) from 3-point territory.
Two consecutive 3-pointers by DePaul moved the Blue Demons ahead 39-34 in the opening minutes of the second half.
Curry's fifth 3-pointer of the game tied the game at 43 but Dar Tucker continued his hot shooting for the Demons, nailing a jumper to put DePaul up 53-48 at the 12:21 mark of the second half.
A strong lay-in by Efejuku got Providence back within two at 61-59 with 6:44 left and a 3-pointer by senior Jeff Xavier (Pawtucket, R.I.) moved PC ahead 64-62 with 4:44 to go in the game. The sequence ignited a 13-1 run for the Friars that gave the team a 70-62 advantage.
Xavier hit another timely 3-point bucket with 1:09 remaining in the game to give the Friars a double-digit lead (75-65) and the squad connected on 8-of-8 free throw attempts in the final 46-seconds to seal the victory.
Walker and Tucker accounted for 61 of DePaul's 74 points on the day. Walker notched 31, while Tucker added 30. It marked the first time in BIG EAST Tournament history that two players from the same team eclipsed 30 points in the same tournament game.
The Friars advance to the quarterfinals with their victory and will face top-seeded Louisville at Noon on Thursday, March 12 (ESPN). Providence's victory over DePaul snaps a five-game losing streak in BIG EAST Tournament play.
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