Friday , Mar , 05 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

DePaul makes case for NCAA bid

Chicago, IL (Sports Network) – Drake Diener and Delonte Holland each scored 17
points to lead the DePaul Blue Demons over the 13th-ranked Cincinnati
Bearcats, 68-65, at Allstate Arena.

Quemont Greer added 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Blue Demons (18-8, 11-4
C-USA), who helped their cause to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time
since 2000 with their third win this season over a ranked opponent.

Diener sparked a 12-2 second-half run, scoring five during the spurt including
the go-ahead basket, as DePaul won its third straight and eighth in nine

“I am willing to say it helped our cause,” said DePaul head coach Dave Leitao
about the NCAA Tournament. “Looking at it we were able to beat the good teams
in our league — Cincinnati, UAB, Memphis and Louisville.”

Field Williams had 14 points to lead Cincinnati (20-6, 11-4), which had a
three-game winning streak come to an end.

“We got beat by a good team,” said Cincinnati head coach Bob Huggins. “We
didn’t play particularly well.”

Trailing 40-37 with five minutes elapsed in the second half, DePaul went on a
12-2 run that gave the Blue Demons the lead for good. Diener’s three-pointer
gave DePaul the lead, 44-42, with 12:34 left and his jumper two minutes later
capped the run for a 49-42 edge.

Cincinnati remained close the rest of the way, drawing within 49-47 with 9:31
left on a Tony Bobbitt trey.

However, DePaul extended its lead to as many as nine points when Greer hit a
pair of free throws with 3:34 left and Cincinnati never got closer than four
points the rest of the way until a three-pointer at the buzzer.

DePaul and Cincinnati are now in a four-way tie for second place in Conference
USA with UAB and Charlotte. DePaul, however, will finish in fourth place in
the conference regardless and will face the Marquette-Tulane winner in the
second round of the C-USA Tournament.

Memphis is leading the conference standings, holding a one-game lead over four
other teams. The Tigers will visit Cincinnati on Saturday and can win the
title outright with a victory.

The game was close throughout. DePaul led for most of the first half until a
pair of Eric Hicks’ free throws with 8:11 remaining gave the Bearcats a 22-21
lead, their first of the game.

Hicks finished with 10 points.

The Blue Demons later regained the lead at 28-27 when Holland hit a jumper
with 4:58 left in the first and DePaul would hold the advantage all the way to
halftime, 35-33.

In the second, Cincinnati took its first lead of the half, 38-37, 4:42 into
the stanza when Williams hit a trey.

DePaul avenged a 90-65 loss earlier this season to Cincinnati.