Demons, Billy Garrett beat Wildcats at buzzer
BY TONI GINNETTI Staff Reporter December 27, 2013 11:11PM
Freshman Billy Garrett Jr. puts up the winning shot as time expires in DePaul’s victory Friday against Northwestern in Evanston. Officials upheld the basket on review. | AP
Updated: January 29, 2014 6:11AM
DePaul freshman Billy Garrett Jr. thought his team had things ‘‘under control’’ with 52 seconds left in a seesaw game Friday against host Northwestern.
Senior forward Sandi Marcius had just converted a three-point play to give the Blue Demons a two-point lead, then he converted another with 33 seconds left to give them a four-point edge.
But not until Garrett made a one-hander as time expired — and officials upheld the basket on review — did DePaul come away with a 57-56 victory.
‘‘I thought we had the game under control,’’ Garrett said. ‘‘But in basketball, anything can happen.’’
It did in the final minute, with the Wildcats seemingly taking the game back on a three-pointer by Dave Sobolewski after teammate Tre Demps missed two free throws.
‘‘Sometimes you just have to smile,’’ NU coach Chris Collins said. ‘‘Give DePaul credit.’’
The schools hadn’t played each other since 2008, when the Wildcats won a lopsided 63-36 game. It was the Demons’ lowest point total since 1949.
The game was close throughout this time, but it was marred by missed shots and turnovers for both teams. DePaul (8-5) shot only 37 percent and NU (7-6) only 32 percent. The Demons were 14-for-29 and the Wildcats 14-for-23 from the free-throw line, and both teams fumbled possessions throughout.
‘‘It was an ugly game, but we stayed together through a lot of ups and downs and runs,’’ Garrett said. ‘‘After Sobolewski hit the three, we said, ‘Stay calm.’ ’’
Garrett’s shot came after DePaul coach Oliver Purnell called timeout with four seconds left. The inbounds pass from the baseline went to midcourt, then to freshman Tommy Hamilton IV to the left of the basket. Hamilton tossed the ball to Garrett, who made the shot.
‘‘I looked up, but then everyone ran up to me, so I knew it went in,’’ Garrett said, referring to his teammates mobbing him on the floor.
Marcius led the Demons with 12 points, and Cleveland Melvin added 11. Demps led all scorers with 23 points and earned the Waldo Fisher-Frank McGrath Award, which has been presented to the outstanding player each time the schools have played since 1974.
‘‘We’re not blessed with a ton of offensive weapons,’’ Collins said. ‘‘Tre was outstanding, but we have to do a better job of finding more offensive balance.’’
Senior swingman Drew Crawford added 15 points for NU.