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Bluejays battle Blue Demons in Big East quarterfinals

<p>Quarterfinal round action of the Big East Conference Tournament continues with a matchup featuring the 10th-seeded DePaul Blue Demons taking on the second-seeded and No. 14-ranked Creighton Bluejays at Madison Square Garden.</p>

New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Quarterfinal round action of the Big East Conference Tournament continues with a matchup featuring the 10th-seeded DePaul Blue Demons taking on the second-seeded and No. 14-ranked Creighton Bluejays at Madison Square Garden.

The winner of this bout will advance to the tournament semifinals to take on either Marquette or Xavier.

DePaul, which in the regular season had lost 10 of its last 11 games on the schedule, finally got on the winning side of the bracket with a 60-56 downing of Georgetown in the first round of the Big East Tournament Wednesday.

Creighton was extremely hot to start the year, starting off with a 15-2 record. The Bluejays faltered just a bit and ended the regular season losing two of their last three games. Creighton is entering postseason play on a high note though, having defeated Providence in Omaha, 88-73, on Saturday.

DePaul leads the all-time series between the teams, 15-9, but was swept by the powerful Bluejays this season in regular-season action.

DePaul had its fair share of injuries and individual issues during the regular season, which forced some of the younger Blue Demons to step up and take the reins of the team. The Big East's Rookie of the Year, Billy Garrett, was one of the players to step up in an otherwise down year for DePaul. Garrett netted 17 points to pace the Blue Demons in the win over the Hoyas, while Forrest Robinson chipped in 14 points and Brandon Young netted 13. DePaul shot 41.3 percent from the field in the first-round victory.

DePaul, which had lost its leading scorer, Cleveland Melvin, earlier this season for personal reasons, managed to fend off the Hoyas in the first round of the Big East Tournament. Brandon Young led the Blue Demons going into Wednesday's battle with 16.2 ppg and a team-high 109 assists. Garrett averaged 12.4 ppg for DePaul, which he exceeded in Wednesday night's contest with Georgetown. Tommy Hamilton has been the team's leading rebounder in Melvin's absence, bringing down a team-high 5 rpg, though he only managed two in the win Wednesday.

Creighton thoroughly dominated Providence on Saturday, running out to a 45-22 advantage at the end of the first half, which allowed the Bluejays to coast right through to the final buzzer. Providence was able to shave eight points off Creighton's first-half advantage, but the Bluejays still walked away from the contest with a 15-point win. Doug McDermott was spectacular once again, netting 45 points on 17-of-25 shooting from the floor, adding seven rebounds to his stat line. Austin Chatman chipped in 11 points with seven boards of his own, adding four assists. The Bluejays shot 64.7 percent from the field in the game.

McDermott leads both the Creighton team and the country in scoring average, netting 26.5 ppg for the Bluejays through 30 games played this season. McDermott is connecting on 52.2 percent of his shots from the floor, including 44.7 percent from 3-point distance. The big man is also leading the team in rebounding, pulling down 7.2 boards per game. Ethan Wragge is the only other Creighton player to net a double-digit point total with 10.7 ppg, but it's enough for the Bluejays, who score 79.9 ppg and give up just 67.3 ppg to opposition. Austin Chatman leads the team with 128 assists on the year, followed by Grant Gibbs with 95 helpers on the year.

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