NCAA BK

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 - 2:00 PM ET
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DePaul-Marquette Preview

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Playing DePaul at home seems like an appropriate time for Marquette to celebrate its annual "Al McGuire Day."

In his 13 seasons as the program's head coach from 1964-77, McGuire dominated the Blue Demons with a 21-5 record - including a stretch of 19 straight victories. Marquette also ran off 81 consecutive home wins during the McGuire era.

While the 24th-ranked Golden Eagles have a long way to go to reach those numbers, they'll try for their 10th consecutive home win over DePaul on Saturday when they look to extend their overall home streak to 22.

Marquette (16-5, 7-2 Big East), which has the fifth-longest active home winning streak in the nation, hasn't lost a Big East game in Milwaukee in almost two years.

The Golden Eagles have won all 12 of their home games this season by an average of 12.1 points. They've used that advantage to spark a run to the top of the conference, where they're tied with Syracuse after the Orange lost two of their last three.

After a 70-51 setback at Louisville on Sunday, Marquette bounced back with a 70-47 victory at South Florida on Wednesday.

Guards Vander Blue and Todd Mayo led the Golden Eagles with 13 points apiece. Blue, the team's leading scorer (14.9 ppg), has averaged 20.0 points on 55.3 percent shooting over his last three games.

Led by Mayo's season high, Marquette got another big performance from its bench to outscore the Bulls' reserves 33-22.

"I think the bench is a great teacher, a lot better teacher than I am," coach Buzz Williams said. "I think Todd has worked a lot harder in practice and he was able to make some shots."

Junior Davante Gardner has been the team's top scorer off the bench (12.0 ppg), but has totaled just 14 points in his last three games.

The Golden Eagles' bench ranks fifth in the nation at 29.9 points per game, while limiting opponents' reserves to just 14.3. Marquette's bench has accounted for 42.1 percent of the team's scoring (69.2 ppg) - the fourth-highest percentage in the nation.

The Golden Eagles have shot 49.7 percent from the field in their last three wins, but just 33.9 percent in their last two losses. They should be able to maintain a high efficiency against a DePaul team that hasn't been able to stop anybody during its seven-game losing streak.

The Blue Demons (10-12, 1-8) have given up 84.3 points per game while allowing opponents shoot 49.2 percent - including 37 for 90 from 3-point range - during their skid.

Even though two of those defeats came in overtime, DePaul has lost by an average of 15.6 points in its last seven. The Blue Demons were outscored 54-31 in the second half of a 94-71 home loss to Villanova on Tuesday.

Junior Cleveland Melvin led the team with 19 points, while sophomore Jamee Crockett added 16 to reach double figures for the third straight game.

Melvin, the team's leading scorer (16.6), shot 9 for 13 from the field after shooting 27.5 percent in his previous three games.

Junior Brandon Young averages 16.4 per game for the Blue Demons, who rank third in the Big East in scoring at 73.0 per game.

The Golden Eagles, however, have allowed 57.8 points on 37.4 percent shooting in their last four home games.

DePaul hasn't won at Marquette since Feb. 16, 2000, including a 30-point defeat in its most recent trip in 2011.

Tagged: Marquette, DePaul, Vander Blue

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