Pirates and Blue Demons meet in Big East brawl

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Newark, NJ (SportsNetwork.com) - The DePaul Blue Demons will see if an overtime win over St. John's can start a winning streak for the team as they travel to face the 24th-ranked Seton Hall Pirates in a Big East Conference clash at the Prudential Center.

DePaul ended a two-game skid with a 71-67 victory over the Red Storm on Sunday. The win put the Blue Demons back above .500 on the season, as they enter Thursday's matchup with a 10-9 record. DePaul also sports a 4-2 mark in Big East play so far.

Seton Hall was on the other end on an overtime contest over a week ago. The Pirates were downed in an extra session, 79-75, by Butler last Tuesday, which was the team's second loss in its last three games. Still, the Pirates are 8-1 at home this season, and will be looking to maintain their Top-25 ranking.

Seton Hall leads the all-time series against DePaul, 10-4. The two teams split the two-game series a year ago with each winning on its home floor.

DePaul seemingly had to overcome a mountainous challenge on Sunday, as the Blue Demons found themselves down by 10 points to St. John's at halftime, 29-19. But DePaul connected on 50 percent of its shots in the second frame, and made 6-of-10 from 3-point range to erase the Red Storm lead and knot the game at 61-61 at the end of regulation. The Demons made 2-of-4 from the floor in the extra session, and hit 5-of-6 from the charity stripe to pull out the come-from-behind win. Billy Garrett scored 20 points to lead DePaul, adding in 13-of-13 from the free-throw line. Myke Henry tallied a double-double of 19 points and 12 rebounds, and Aaron Simpson came off the bench to net 13 points in the victory.

Garrett has really stepped up his play lately for the Blue Demons, and has officially pulled himself into a tie with Henry for the team lead in scoring. Each player is netting 13.3 ppg heading into Thursday, though Garrett adds 71 assists to his resume to lead the team. Jamee Crockett chips in 11.2 ppg, and Tommy Hamilton rounds out a group of double-digit scorers for the Demons at 11.1 ppg, also pulling down a team-high 6.2 rpg. The Blue Demons are third in the Big East in scoring, averaging 72.7 ppg. But the team's scoring defense is dismal, allowing 73.3 ppg to opponents - last in the league.

Sterling Gibbs has established himself as one of the better players in the Big East this season, but his dominant performance last Tuesday against Butler wasn't enough to help his Pirates pull out a win in overtime. Gibbs collected a team-high 30 points before he fouled out of the game, making 6-of-9 from 3- point range and 6-of-10 from the charity stripe. Khadeen Carrington contributed 20 points in the losing effort, while Angel Delgado added 12 points and a team-best 15 rebounds for the double-double. The Pirates let a four-point lead at halftime slip away in the second period, and Butler made 3- of-7 from the field and 5-of-8 from the free-throw line in the extra session for the win.

Gibbs has been sensational in leading Seton Hall this season, especially after the departure of several key members of the team from last year. The leading scorer for the Pirates is netting 17.2 ppg - good for third in the Big East - and has 64 assists to lead the team. Isaiah Whitehead (who has played in 11 games and is out yet again with a stress fracture in his right foot) owns the other double-digit scoring average for the Pirates this season at 11.9 ppg. Brandon Mobley is close to double figures (9.8 ppg), and Delgado has proven to be one of the top rebounders in the conference (9.1 rpg, second in the league). Seton Hall is netting 70.9 ppg as a unit, and allowing just 62.7 ppg to opponents.