MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Travis Diener returned from a neck injury to
score 15 points and hand out 12 assists, leading Marquette past
DePaul, 70-62 Saturday afternoon.
Freshman guard Dameon Mason, also questionable before the game
with migraines, had a career-high 21 points for Marquette (12-5,
3-3 Conference USA), which avoided losing four straight for the
first time since the 1998-99 season.
DePaul fell to 10-7, 3-3. Marquette has beaten the Blue Demons
seven straight times and 18-of-20.
Mason made nine of his 13 shots and gave Marquette a 51-49 lead
with four straight points, including a steal and fast-break slam
dunk with 8:22 remaining. Marquette went up five, 56-51, with
Diener's long 3-pointer from the right wing with about 4:30 left.
Two Mason free throws made it 58-51 less than a minute later.
DePaul got no closer than four the rest of the way. Marquette
made seven free throws in the final 37 seconds -- five from Diener --
to seal it.
Quemont Greer had 20 points for DePaul, and Sammy Mejia and
Drake Diener added 12 each. Leading scorer Delonte Holland, who
came in averaging 18.9 points per game, had just seven on 3-of-11
shooting after suffering an apparent ankle injury midway through
the first half. He returned soon after.
Travis Diener suffered severe whiplash after a player landed on
him during Tuesday night's game at Charlotte, and did not practice
the rest of the week. A game-day decision to start him drew a loud
roar from the crowd before the game.
He quickly made his presence known, registering an assist on a
layup by Scott Merritt 20 seconds in, as Marquette made its first
five shots and went up 10-4 early before DePaul seemingly couldn't
DePaul made 15 of its first 20 shots to go up by as many as 12
points, 35-23, late in the first half.
At one point, DePaul outscored Marquette 29-10 before the Golden
Eagles cut the lead to just one, 37-36, at the half.
The Blue Demons shot 61.5 percent in the first half, and made
five of their six 3-point attempts. Marquette was equally hot,
shooting 57.7 percent. Mason made all five of his first-half shots.
Merritt had 12 points and nine rebounds for the Golden Eagles.
At halftime, Marquette special assistant coach Trey
Schwab, in a taped message, encouraged fans to consider organ
donation as part of the "Get Game -- Give Life" program. Schwab
has been on the transplant waiting list for more than two years as
he battles an incurable lung illness. Miss Wisconsin 2003, Tina
Sauerhammer, also spoke. Her father died last year while waiting
for a kidney transplant. ... Marquette last lost four games in a
row during coach Mike Deane's final year, when the Golden Eagles
finished 14-15. Under Crean, Marquette had lost three in a row four
different times. Marquette, which lost to Cincinnati last Saturday
at the Bradley Center, hasn't lost two straight games at home since
1999-2000. ... DePaul's Drake Diener is Travis' cousin, and the two
guarded each other for much of the game.