ROSEMONT, Ill. (AP) — It was J.P. Macura in the first half, Trevon Bluiett in the second and Larry Austin Jr. spread throughout the game.
No. 7 Xavier showed off its superior depth while overwhelming DePaul 86-65 on Saturday, putting away the lowly Blue Demons with an impressive burst spanning the halves.
Macura scored 10 of his 12 points in the first half and Austin also finished with 12, part of a 42-point day for Xavier’s reserves — a particularly dominant number when compared with the 12 points for DePaul’s backups.
“The guys that stood out to me for our team today that did a great job in picking up the energy were Larry Austin and J.P. Macura,” coach Chris Mack said. “Our team is a deep team, I think an unselfish team, and each kid has sacrificed a little bit for the greater good. But those two did a phenomenal job today.”
The Musketeers trailed 32-25 before they ripped off 29 of the next 34 points to grab control. Macura made a 3-pointer and two free throws during a 17-1 run over the final 3:43 of the first half, and Bluiett had two layups and a jumper to help Xavier open a 54-37 lead with 16:13 remaining.
“Trying to have good offense with no energy or defense, it doesn’t really work that way,” Macura said. “When we got better energy, like throughout the game, that’s when we made a comeback and then we started pushing the lead.”
Bluiett finished with 15 points for the Musketeers (19-2, 7-2 Big East), who have won three in a row since their 81-72 home loss against Georgetown on Jan. 19.
DePaul (7-14, 1-8) lost for the eighth time in its last nine games. The Blue Demons struggled to score after Xavier switched to a 1-3-1 zone late in the first half and never recovered.
“It was very frustrating,” guard Billy Garrett Jr. said of the first-half swoon. “It’s just a matter of us fixing our problems. There’s nothing new. We’ve been kind of doing that all year.”
Tommy Hamilton IV scored 13 of his 15 points in the first half, and Garrett finished with 18 points. But DePaul committed 15 turnovers, leading to 21 points for Xavier, and also was outrebounded 39-27 by the Musketeers.
“They play their roles very well. They’re very balanced,” DePaul coach Dave Leitao said. “They can go nine deep, 10 deep, and all make positive contributions.”
The Blue Demons also were hurt by a pair of costly fouls on Joe Hanel late in the first half. The sophomore forward was called for over the back while going for a rebound, and then went chest to chest with Jalen Reynolds, drawing a technical.
The result was a pair of free throws for Myles Davis and Reynolds and a 40-32 lead for Xavier with 1:14 to go. Edmond Sumner tacked on a jumper for the Musketeers with 22 seconds left, and the Blue Demons trailed by nine at the break after leading by as many as nine in the early going.
Reynolds and Davis each scored 10 for Xavier, which led by as many as 26 on its way to its fifth win in the last six games in the series. The Musketeers also beat the Blue Demons 84-64 on Jan. 12.
Xavier freshman Makinde London played for the first time since the team’s first game against DePaul and scored a season-high seven points in seven second-half minutes. The 6-foot-10 forward went 2 for 2 from 3-point range in his 13th game of the season, delighting his teammates.
“We love playing with Kinde and when he comes into the game and knocks down two 3s like that, that’s great for him and the team,” Macura said.
Xavier: Senior F James Farr “sort of tweaked the back of his leg, whether it’s a hamstring, we’ll see,” Mack said. “Hopefully it’s nothing serious.” Farr finished with seven points in 16 minutes. … Bluiett had two points on 1-for-4 shooting in the first half. … The Musketeers earned their fourth consecutive Big East road win. … Xavier missed its first nine shots of the game and 11 of its first 12 overall.
DePaul: Women’s basketball coach Doug Bruno was recognized during the first half with a commemorative ball in honor of his 600th career win on Jan. 15 at Butler. … Hamilton fouled out with 5:35 left.
Xavier hosts St. John’s on Wednesday night.
DePaul hosts No. 10 Providence on Tuesday night.
Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap