Big East basketball notebook

After starting the season 2-7, the Blue Demons won five of their last six games.,”REDEEMING THE BLUE DEMONS

When the DePaul Blue Demons opened the season without Sammy Mejia and Wilson Chandler, both of whom were lost to last year's NBA Draft, many skeptics questioned whether the

Blue Demons could contend in the Big East.

After starting the season 2-7, the Blue Demons won five of their last six games. Three wins came against Big East rivals Villanova, Providence and St. John's.

Senior Draelon Burns is averaging 17.1 points per game, a figure that leads all DePaul scorers and ranks seventh in the Big East. Burns is shooting nearly 82 percent from the free throw line, and he has scored 20 or more points in seven games this season.

Mac Koshwal is averaging 11.3 points per game. He also leads DePaul in rebounds per game at 8.2 and field goal percentage at 53.7 percent.

DePaul still has plenty of doubters, but with games against Villanova and Marquette in the near future, the Blue Demons have a chance to establish themselves as a serious contender.

HIBBERT HITS A THREE

Georgetown senior Roy Hibbert is known around the league mainly for his presence under the basket, but the 7-foot-2 center proved he can shoot from the outside if needed this past Saturday against Connecticut.

With the game tied 69-69 with less than five seconds remaining, Hibbert sunk the game-winning three-point basket. It was Hibbert's second attempt at a three point shot on the season, and it may have been his most important shot thus far this year.

Hibbert, the preseason Big East Player of the Year, is averaging 12.6 points and 6.5 rebounds per game while leading the Hoyas to a 13-1 (3-0 Big East) record.

REBOUNDING CARDINALS

Louisville senior forward David Padgett and sophomore forward Derrick Caracter, both of whom had setbacks earlier in the season, combined for 17 points last Sunday as the Cardinals defeated Rutgers 64-49.

Padgett suffered a fractured kneecap Nov. 18 against Jackson State that was supposed to end his season. He returned to the court Jan. 1 against Cincinnati and is averaging 9.8 points per game.

Caracter was suspended indefinitely Dec. 10 after breaking curfew twice following a Dec. 8 loss to Dayton. He returned a week later after missing one game and is averaging 10.9 points per game.

Game of the Week:

DePaul at No. 19 Villanova on Wednesday January 19th. Led by 20 points from Draelon Burns, the Blue Demons defeated Wildcats 84-76 earlier this month, but Villanova hasn't lost a game at home yet this season.

Who's Hot:

Pittsburgh. The No. 15 Panthers upset the No. 5 Georgetown Hoyas 69-60 last night in Pittsburgh. Pitt won without starters Levance Fields and Mike Cook, who were both sidelined because of injuries. The Panthers now stand at 3-1 in the Big East and 15-2 overall.

Who's Not:

Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights have lost six of their last seven games. To make things worse, three of those losses have come against Big East opponents.

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