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Extending the misery: DePaul falls in 3 OTs
By Lindsey Willhite | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 3/5/2010 11:52 PM | Updated: 3/5/2010 11:05 PM

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Every senior wants to make his final home game last forever.

Will Walker came a lot closer than most Friday night at Allstate Arena, but the DePaul's extended regular-season finale put little salve on his usual postgame pain.

DePaul built a 20-point first-half lead against St. John's and led by 12 with less than nine minutes to go, but the Demons fell 90-82 in three overtimes at Allstate Arena.

Walker scored 10 points while playing all but the final 8.1 seconds of the 55-minute Big East affair, which tied the longest game in the program's 87-year history.

"It was just tiring," Walker said. "It would feel better to have that 'W,' but it was still fun."

Not only did the Blue Demons lose for the 36th time in their last 37 regular-season Big East games, DePaul (8-23, 1-17) became the first team in the conference's 31-year history to earn just 1 league win over a two-season period.

That blanket statement has looked flimsier lately, though, as the Blue Demons keep building big leads and looking like a Big East equal - only to fritter them away when it comes time to win.

DePaul soared to a 30-10 lead in the opening 13 minutes and maintained a 16-point margin at halftime.

"Coach (Tracy Webster) keeps stressing to us to keep attacking, but it seems like we never do," Walker said. "We go into a shell and we start trying to play not to lose, instead of keep playing to win."

When junior center Mac Koshwal (23 points, 11 rebounds) went to the bench with 4 fouls at the 14:31 mark, the Demons couldn't cope at either end of the floor.

St. John's D.J. Kennedy (career-high 32 points) nailed 3 consecutive 3-pointers to slash a 13-point deficit to 4.

DePaul pushed its lead back to 52-40 with 8:43 to go, but scored just 4 points in the rest of regulation.

St. John's forced overtime when Kennedy fed Justin Burrell for an uncontested dunk with two seconds left.

St. John's (16-14, 6-12) took its first lead with 2:03 left in the first overtime, but DePaul rallied to forge another session as Jeremiah Kelly (13 points, 9 assists) drove unimpeded with a tying layup with two-tenths of a second to play.

Apparently one of St. John's players thought its lead was 3 and let Kelly go to the hoop.

Kelly missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer to close out the second overtime and St. John's dominated the third extra period.

"By far the most exciting game I've ever been a part of in my life ... coaching," said St. John's coach Norm Roberts.

DePaul, the 16th seed in the Big East tournament, kicks off the event at 11 a.m. Tuesday in Madison Square Garden. The Demons learn their opponent (the No. 9 seed) Saturday night.