Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Entering the Big East Tournament, DePaul hadn’t won a basketball game since just after Christmas.
The Blue Demons went through the entire Big East regular season without winning a single game, finishing a dismal 0-18 and at the bottom of the 16-team mega-conference.
Yet No. 16 DePaul stunned No. 9 Cincinnati 67-57 in Tuesday’s first-round game at Madison Square Garden and will face No. 8 Providence on Wednesday at noon.
“This is a new season, the Big East Tournament so that’s what we thought about,” said DePaul guard Dar Tucker, who finished with 17 points and eight rebounds. “It’s a brand new start so that’s what we thought. We’re just going to come out and play the first game.”
Will Walker added 17 points for DePaul (9-23) and Mac Koshwal and Jeremiah Kelly added 12 apiece. The Blue Demons outscored the Bearcats 42-30 in the second half and outrebounded them 32-20 on the game.
Deonta Vaughn was Cincinnati’s only double-digit scorer with 15 points on 6-of-21 shooting.
DePaul’s last win came Dec. 28 against Alcorn State and this victory snapped an 18-game losing streak.
“Hopefully we proved that there is a lot of value to bring everybody [ to New York for the tournament],” DePaul coach Jerry Wainwright said. “We’ve had a tough long season. We’ve kept our heads up. I can’t tell you how much this experience will help them next year.”
As for Cincinnati (18-14), the Bearcats were once considered an NCAA bubble team but collapsed down the stretch, losing four straight and six of seven.
The Bearcats will still likely make the NIT, but Providence probably isn’t too happy about the DePaul win. If Providence had beaten Cincinnati in the second round, it would boost the Friars’ chances of making the Big Dance.
A win over DePaul? Not so much.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.