Marquette edges DePaul 96-94 in OT

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Marquette senior forward Davante Gardner during the Golden Eagles' game versus the Providence Friars on 1/30/14. (Photo by Mike Cianciolo / michael.cianciolo@marquette.edu)

Playing an extra five minutes against slumping DePaul was not likely in Marquette’s agenda Saturday, but winning the hard way is still a win regardless.

Marquette avoided a major upset at the hands of the Blue Demons, emerging victorious 96-94 in overtime at Allstate Arena. Senior Davante Gardner scored 22 points, junior Todd Mayo had 19, and senior Jamil Wilson contributed 18.

DePaul was led by the duo of Brandon Young (29 points) and Billy Garrett, Jr. (26). The Blue Demons have lost 10 straight while Marquette improves to 8-6.

The Golden Eagles’ defense stifled DePaul in the opening six minutes. The Blue Demons missed their first 10 shots and did not score until a DeJuan Marrero free throw with 13:48 left in the first. They did not make a field goal until Garrett’s three-pointer at the 13:26 mark in the first.

Wilson’s layup followed by Gardner’s wide-open dunk with 6:11 left in the first gave the Golden Eagles a 27-23 advantage. After a three-pointer by Forrest Robinson and a pair of free throws by Garrett to shift the lead to 28-27 DePaul, Marquette’s Jake Thomas nailed back-to-back threes for a five-point Marquette lead.

The first half featured six lead changes. The Golden Eagles got their largest lead of the period with four minutes remaining on two Todd Mayo foul shots to go ahead by seven.

After leading 44-41 at the break, Marquette put forth a 12-1 run over the first 3:39 of the second half, thanks to six points from Otule and four from Jamil Wilson.

Ahead 60-48 after an Otule dunk, the Blue Demons responded with a furious comeback bid. Garrett netted 10 points in a 20-8 DePaul run that knotted the game at 68 with six minutes left.

Otule’s tip-in off a missed Mayo free throw made it 73-68, and Gardner later made two free throws to get the score to 77-71.

DePaul responded with an 8-2 run to tie it up at 79. Jamil Wilson converted on two free throws with 8.1 seconds to go to give Marquette an 82-79 lead.

Garrett’s three with 2.3 seconds left once again tied the game at 82. Derrick Wilson brought the ball up the floor and heaved a 60-footer that fell through, but not before Williams called a timeout.

Gardner’s and-one layup with 1:43 left in overtime put Marquette up by two, and the Golden Eagles would not trail again.

Derrick Wilson made a driving layup after Garrett missed two critical free throws, and he was called for a charge the following possession.

After Young’s driving layup was no good, Gardner grabbed the board, was fouled, and made two foul shots for a 95-89 lead.

Durrell McDonald connected on a three-pointer with 18.5 seconds left to make it a one-possession game.

Derrick Wilson made a free throw to increase the margin to four. A layup by Young with 4.6 seconds left chipped the lead to two. McDonald forced a steal near half court after the basket, but his desperation heave was no good.