The Musketeers come into the conference tournament with soaring expectations, a No. 1 seed in the NCAAs in sight and a big run looking like a strong possibility. Mack wants his team to embrace all of that. Winning the Big East regular-season championship was an important step. “We’ve been preparing for this since Day 1,” Bluiett said. “We knew this was a goal that was possible to reach. We stayed hungry throughout the process, and it turned out well for us.” Bluiett became the school’s all-time leader in 3-pointers, making four to give him 310 in his career. Brandon Cyrus led DePaul (11-19, 4-14) with a career-high 20 points. Cain scored 14 as the Blue Demons lost for the fifth time in six games. “For us to win against a team of that stature, you have to bring you ‘A’ game,” coach Dave Leitao said. “We played very well in spurts. We hung tough.” HANGING ON The Musketeers had already clinched a share of the Big East regular-season title with a win over Providence on Wednesday. They took sole possession with a performance that was sloppy at times but just good enough to get past the struggling Blue Demons. Xavier won despite committing 20 turnovers and scoring just two points in the final 4:47. The Musketeers led by 11 in the second half but couldn’t put away the Blue Demons. Things got particularly tight after a three-point play by Cain and two free throws by Tre’Darius McCallum cut it to 63-62 with 1:58 remaining. That brought DePaul fans to their feet, but there wasn’t much for them to celebrate in the end. The Musketeers’ J.P. Macura went backdoor for a layup to make it a three-point game. Najii Marshall blocked Cyrus’ layup with 45 seconds left, and Xavier hung on after Cain and Strus missed those 3-pointers just before the final buzzer. SETTING RECORD Bluiett made all but one of his 3’s in the second half while surpassing Romain Sato as Xavier’s all-time leader. He hit his school-record 308th 3-pointer about 7 1/2 minutes into the half, when he nailed one in front of the Xavier bench. He answered a DePaul basket with another from long range to make it 50-39. And he struck again from the outside, hitting a 3 after DePaul cut it to 52-47. BIG PICTURE Xavier: The Musketeers were bothered at times by DePaul’s length but did just enough to come away with the win. They’ll need to do a better job hanging onto the ball and make more shots if they’re going to capture their first Big East tournament title and make a big NCAA run. DePaul: The Blue Demons once again came up a little short, losing by single digits for the ninth time. They struggled from the outside, making 6 of 25 3-pointers. UP NEXT Xavier: The Musketeers play in the Big East quarterfinals on Thursday. DePaul: The Blue Demons play Wednesday in the first round of the Big East tournament. MULLIN VS. EWING Meantime, Georgetown is the No. 8 seed and St. John’s the 9, meaning old rivals Patrick Ewing and Chris Mullin will meet for a third time in the 8-9 game on Wednesday at 7 p.m at Madison Square Garden. Georgetown won both regular-season games this year.
XAVIER. OUTRIGHT.Kings of the Big East 👑 pic.twitter.com/VdJVsQcwR6 — FOX College Hoops (@CBBonFOX) March 3, 2018
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Recruits learning about Chris Mullin, Patrick Ewing through NBA 2K, YouTube— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) January 10, 2018