Senior guard Kamar Baldwin collected nine points, eight rebounds, six steals, five assists and three blocks as Butler smothered visiting DePaul for a 60-42 Big East victory Saturday night in Indianapolis.
Jordan Tucker and Sean McDermott scored 13 points apiece for Butler (20-9, 8-8 Big Eight), which pulled into a tie for fifth in league play. The top six teams earn a first-round bye in the Big East tournament.
Charlie Moore posted eight points to pace DePaul (14-15, 2-14), which fell 15 points shy of its previous season low. The Blue Demons shot just 33.3 percent from the field and committed 17 turnovers.
DePaul played without junior power forward Paul Reed and his 14.9 points, 10.6 rebounds and 2.6 blocks for the first time this season. The projected NBA draft pick sat on the bench due to a hip pointer.
DePaul, which stunned then-No. 5 Butler 79-66 on Jan. 18 in Chicago, was forced into seven turnovers in the first seven minutes. Meanwhile, Butler raced out to a 16-4 lead as McDermott buried two 3-pointers and a jumper.
The Blue Demons didn’t crack double figures until freshman center Nick Ongenda made a layup while getting fouled with 9:18 left in the first half. Butler led 19-10 at that point, but DePaul switched to a deceptive 1-1-3 zone that frustrated the Bulldogs.
The Blue Demons got as close as 23-20 on Darious Hall’s two-handed slam with 2:45 to go, but Butler took a 29-22 lead into halftime.
DePaul clung within striking range at the outset of the second half as the Bulldogs endured an extended stretch where they missed 12 of 13 3-pointers.
Butler’s cold spell ended when Tucker, who missed his first five 3-point attempts, swished a 25-footer and the accompanying free throw to push the margin to 37-26 with 14:39 left. Then Tucker flushed back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Bulldogs a 50-32 lead, their largest to that point, with 8:19 to go.
With 19 seconds left, freshman Romeo Weems swished a 3-pointer from beyond the top of the key to extend DePaul’s streak with at least one 3-pointer to 835 games. Had Weems’ shot gone awry, the Blue Demons would have been shut out from the 3-point arc for the first time since Feb. 16, 1993, against UAB.
—Field Level Media