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DePaul rolls past Providence in Rhode Island

This was a surprise.

NCAA Basketball: DePaul at Providence Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

For the third straight year, the DePaul Blue Demons have picked up a win over the Providence Friars. This time, it was in Providence, though. The Blue Demons rolled to an 80-63 victory behind a balanced scoring attack and stout defense.

The game was actually quite close for much of the early going. With eight minutes to go in the first half, DePaul led 17-14 and it looked like the Friars would figure things out sooner rather than later.

The Blue Demons were unrelenting, however, going on a 23-11 run from that point to the end of the half and taking a 40-25 lead into the locker room. They kept at it in the first 10 minutes of the second half, with the lead ballooning as high as 31 points.

Marin Maric’s 18 points led the way for DePaul, while Tre’Darius McCallum recorded his fifth career-double double (first this season). Max Strus had 17 (five threes) and Eli Cain had 14 as the Blue Demons got a little bit from everybody in the winning effort. The Blue Demons shot 60.4% from the field, their highest shooting percentage in a conference game since 2014.

Meanwhile for the Friars, things were ugly. Alpha Diallo went 0-9 from the field and recorded just two points, Kyron Cartwright and Rodney Bullock combined for just 14 points,and Jalen Lindsey missed the game with a head injury. Nate Watson’s 14 and Isaiah Jackson’s 12 weren’t nearly enough for the Friars in Saturday’s effort. The loss snaps a two-game winning streak, as Providence’s schedule now gets tougher.

Like St. John’s and Georgetown (both of which also won on Saturday), DePaul showed that come next month at Madison Square Garden, there will be no easy games for any team.