CHICAGO — In dropping 10 straight games and 18 overall, DePaul feels as if it has had more than its share of bad luck.
But a fortunate — if not downright lucky — shot played a big role in the Blue Demons' 65-60 victory over Seton Hall Tuesday night. Durrell McDonald's 28-foot heave with the shot clock running down snapped a tie at 58 with just under 3 minutes to go and gave DePaul the lead for good.
"Finally the basketball gods took pity on us," DePaul coach Oliver Purnell said. "There have been several of them that have gone the other way, so, finally, we got a break on one."
Brandon Young had 19 points, including four in the final 1:29, as DePaul (11-18, 3-13 Big East) won for the first time since a 77-75 home win over St. John's on Jan. 14. Billy Garrett Jr. and McDonald had 15 points each and Sandi Marcius added 10, all in the first half.
It was DePaul's first win without leading scorer Cleveland Melvin, who is serving a four-game suspension.
Fuquan Edwin had 21 points to lead Seton Hall (14-14, 5-10). Edwin, though, was hampered by an injured thumb down the stretch and didn't score in the final 13 minutes of the game. He left the game briefly midway through the second half. It was his fourth straight game with at least 21 points.
"We'll get it x-rayed tomorrow and see how it goes," Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard said. "As long as it doesn't swell, we should be OK. You need him at the defensive end as much as anything at that time. He said he felt good to go. He took a couple more shots, so it must not have been feeling that bad."
Seton Hall posted an 86-69 victory in the first meeting between the teams on Jan. 25 at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
In this contest, DePaul committed turnovers on two of its first three possessions and fell behind 7-2 early. It appeared it might be another long night, but the Blue Demons responded with a 14-4 run to take a 16-11 lead.
DePaul entered the game shooting 40.9 percent from the field, but was locked in during the first half. The Blue Demons were 15 for 21 (71.4 percent) from the field in the first half, including 4 of 8 from 3-point range, to take a 38-29 halftime lead.
But as smoothly as things went in the first half, it was apparent early in the second half that the final 20 minutes would be a different story.
Seton Hall opened the second half with a 13-4 run to tie the score at 42. After a pair of Garrett free throws put DePaul back on top, the Pirates ran off eight straight points for a 50-44 lead.
But instead of folding, the Blue Demons rallied and scored eight straight to reclaim a 52-50 advantage.
With the score tied at 58 with just under 3 minutes left, McDonald found the ball in his hands with the shot clock about to expire.
"I thought it was just confidence," said McDonald, who celebrated his 20th birthday on Tuesday. "When the game is tight, you can't really think about the game too much because that's when you start not playing your game. I just played off instincts and took a shot and it fell in."
A little than a minute later, Young had a steal and a layup to make it 63-58 with 1:29 to go. He then capped the scoring with a pair of free throws with 12.7 seconds left.