Johnson-Odom, Butler power Marquette past DePaul
Jae Crowder added 18 points and the Golden Eagles used a 12-0 run at the end of the first half to turn a back-and-forth beginning into a big blowout.
Marquette (13-6, 4-2) squandered an 18-point lead with less than 6 minutes to go in a 71-70 loss at Louisville on Saturday, but there was no repeat performance.
DePaul (6-12, 0-6) has been the Big East’s worst team in recent years, losing 42 of its last 43 conference games with the only victory a one-point win last year over Marquette. Freshman Cleveland Melvin led the Blue Demons with 20 points.
DePaul took a 20-15 lead on a layup by Jimmy Drew with just under 11 minutes to go in the first half, but the Golden Eagles used a 13-3 run to take the advantage for good, sparked by Johnson-Odom’s layup and three-pointer.
With Marquette up 34-29, Dwight Buycks hit two jumpers, Butler had a putback, Crowder added a layup, Johnson-Odom found Vander Blue on a no-look pass for an easy bucket and Butler had an emphatic slam that made it 46-29 at halftime.
During Marquette’s run, the Demons couldn’t do anything right.
DePaul missed six straight shots, including five 3-point attempts, on the way to shooting 4 of 19 from beyond the arc. Moses Morgan blew a layup at the rim, never getting the ball over the iron, and the Demons committed three turnovers while going more than 5 minutes without a point until Melvin’s dunk early in the second half.
Melvin, named the Big East freshman of the week for the third time on Monday, went 8 of 12 from the field and fellow freshman starter Brandon Young added 11 points. Drew finished with 12 points.
Marquette steadily pulled away, pushing the lead to 20 for the first time with just under 18 minutes left on free throws by Crowder. Johnson-Odom’s 3-pointer made it 71-41 with 11:07 to go and Marquette led by as many as 38 late.
Since DePaul’s win over Marquette just under a year ago, the Demons have lost 19 in a row to Big East opponents by an average of more than nine points.
The game represented the lone break in the brutal first half of Marquette’s conference schedule. The Golden Eagles play No. 16 Notre Dame next on Saturday, followed by No. 8 Connecticut, No. 3 Syracuse and No. 7 Villanova.