NEW YORK -- Sharaud Curry scored 25 points and Providence held DePaul without a field goal for nearly 8 minutes to beat the surprising Blue Demons 83-74 in the second round of the Big East tournament Wednesday, enhancing its chances for an NCAA bid.
Eighth-seeded Providence (19-12), needing a good showing to help make its case for an at-large bid, got its first victory in the Big East tourney since 2003. The road gets considerably tougher, though, as the Friars face No. 1 seed and fifth-ranked Louisville in the quarterfinals Thursday.
The Friars took advantage of the Blue Demons' lack of depth, denying DePaul a field goal for more than 8 minutes in the second half to turn a 62-59 deficit into a 70-62 lead with 3:36 to play.
Walker, who played 40 minutes in each game, matched a career high with his 31 points. But he went almost 13 minutes of the second half without a field goal until he made one of his six 3-pointers with less than 2 minutes to play. Tucker also failed to score for nearly 9 minutes.
Mario Stula was 3-for-3 on 3-pointers for DePaul, which shot 13-for-31 from behind the arc. The Blue Demons (9-24) had defeated Cincinnati for their first conference win of the year in the first round of a tournament expanded to include all 16 teams. They lost 24 games for the first time in their 85 years.
Providence shot 50 percent in the first to half to take a 32-31 lead behind 16 from Curry. DePaul grabbed eight offensive boards in the half but Curry made three 3-pointers down the stretch.
The Blue Demons went up 55-51 with 11:15 left in the game behind two acrobatic drives by Tucker. But the second was the last field goal for the Blue Demons until Walker made his 3 with less than 2 minutes to play. In that span, DePaul, the worst free throw shooting team in the conference, made eight of 14 shots from the line, including going 1-for-2 on a technical foul against Davis at 8:32.
When DePaul went cold, Weyinmi and Jeff Xavier picked up their play. Xavier made two of his three 3-pointers and Weyinmi scored six points to help make it 72-63.