|Houston's Chad Hendrick battles DePaul's Steve Hunter, left, and Andre Brown, right, for a rebound in the first half, Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2001, in Chicago. Houston's George Williams (42) looks on. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)|
AP Sports Writer
ROSEMONT, Ill. (AP) - Joe Tulley made six 3-pointers - one shy of the school record - for a second time this year and Steven Hunter scored 21 points Wednesday night as DePaul survived a scare to beat Houston 90-78.
Tulley, who also had six 3s in DePaul's victory over Temple, finished with 22 points. Hunter had eight blocks, tying Walter Downing for the school's second-best single-game record.
Lance Williams added 17 points for the Blue Demons (11-11, 3-7 Conference USA), and Bobby Simmons had 16 points and 16 rebounds.
Dominic Smith finished with 19 points for Houston (5-16, 2-7), which dropped to 0-9 on the road this season. Patrick Okafor and Chad Hendrick added 18 each.
The Blue Demons have made a habit of squandering leads this year, and Wednesday night's game was no different. They blew a 14-point lead in the first half, and trailed 63-59 after Patrick Okafor scored on a hook shot with 13:51 left.
But Tulley got the Blue Demons back in the groove with a 3-pointer with 13:01 left.
After Okafor scored on a layup to give Houston a 65-64 lead with 10:18 left, Lance Williams hit a layup to spark an 8-0 run and the Blue Demons never trailed again.
And just in case the Cougars got any ideas about threatening, Tulley was there to quiet them down. His 3-pointer capped the Blue Demons' key run, and he added another with 4:31 left to put DePaul ahead 77-68.
DePaul had everything going early in the first half, dominating Houston from the field and on the boards. The Cougars, meanwhile, looked like they were still worn out from Sunday's come-from-behind victory against UNC-Charlotte. Smith was scoreless for the first 15 minutes of the game, and Houston shot just 47 percent in the first half.
When Jon Oden slammed an alley-oop with 7:34 left in the half to give DePaul a 35-21 lead, it looked as if the rout was on. But just as it has all year, DePaul sputtered and ran into trouble. Okafor scored on a layup to start an 18-8 run that got the Cougars within 43-39 with 2:20 left in the first half.
Houston could have pared the lead even further, but Hendrick missed a pair of free throws with 1:59 to play.
The Cougars started quickly in the second half, with George Williams opening with a 3-pointer. Willie Moore added another 3, and Smith hit a jumper from about 15 feet to give Houston a 50-48 lead, its first of the game, with 17:31 left to play.
Lance Williams' free throws with 16:48 were DePaul's first points of the second half, and the Blue Demons didn't score a field goal until Imari Sawyer's 3-pointer with 16:21 left.