NEW YORK (AP)Paul Reed had 23 points and 12 rebounds and DePaul won its first Big East Tournament game since 2014 with a come-from-behind 71-67 over seventh-seeded Xavier in a first-round game on Tuesday night.
Charlie Moore added 18 points and nine assists for the 10th-seeded Blue Demons (16-16), who advanced to a quarterfinal showdown against second-seeded Villanova on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.
Tyrique Jones had 22 points to lead Xavier (19-13). Zach Freemantle matched his career high with 18 and Naji Marshall scored 15 for the Musketeers, who made 1 of their last 10 shots.
The two first-round games on Wednesday night – St. John’s beat Georgetown in the opener – will be the last ones without fan restrictions. The league announced during the DePaul-Xavier game that the remainder of the conference’s tournament will be played under a restricted attendance policy.
Attendees will be limited to student-athletes, coaches, event staff, essential team and conference staff, television personnel, credentialed media and immediate family members of the participating teams. Schools will be limited to 200 tickets per institution.
It won’t matter for seventh-seeded Xavier. It had used a 13-point run to take a 59-53 lead with 9:18 to play, but the Musketeers scored eight points the rest of the way in failing to win a tournament game for the first time since joining the league seven years ago.
DePaul was 3-15 in conference play this season and it was 2-12 overall in tournament play.
After falling behind by six points, Moore hit a 3-pointer and Reed slammed home a dunk around a shot by Xavier’s KyKy Tandy to get within 61-58. DePaul would eventually take the lead for good on a shot by Reed in the paint for a 64-63 lead with 4:15 to play. Jaylen Butz scored inside with 2:47 to go and Moore made two free throws to up the advantage to 69-63 with 29 seconds left.
DePaul used a 13-2 run to open a 35-24 lead late in the first half, but Freemantle hit two 3-pointers in a 10-3 spurt to close the gap to 38-24 at the half.
UP NEXT: DePaul: Will face second-seeded Villanova on Thursday night in the quarterfinals. The Blue Demons lost twice against the Wildcats.
Xavier: This loss could knock Xavier into the NIT.
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