It had been nearly two years since the Blue Demons walked onto a bus in a foreign city as winners.
But last night in Providence, Oliver Purnell's team ended its 12-game losing streak this season and its 24-game losing streak in the Big East by defeating Providence in the Dunkin Donuts Center.
It is truly a remarkable achievement. And that's damn sad.
DePaul is now 2-47 in the past three season of Big East play. The 2007-08 season was a wild success by comparison; the Blue Demons won six games that year.
Regardless, the win's notable because DePaul winning in the Big East isn't all that common. A once-proud program, one that was on the national radar about 25 years ago, is now a laughing stock. DePaul's been considered the joke of the Big East pretty much since it arrived along with Marquette, Louisville and Cincinnati, the four jettisoning Conference USA six years ago. Reporters haven't been afraid to question the school's legitimacy within the Big East. If this win does down as the school's only one in the Big East this season, those questions will stick around for the summer.
For as good as this is for DePaul, it's very bad for Keno Davis and Providence. Davis is considered on the hot seat, as he's got no prospects on the horizon that match the potential and talent of future NBA player Marshon Brooks. Ricky Ledo, a highly touted prospect, recently withdrew from his oral commitment to the school. There has been, unfortunately, speculation about Davis' ability to coach Providence ever since he finished paying the first month's mortgage on his house there.
Here's what Davis had to say about last night:
"We talked at length in the locker room to not make excuses," said Davis. "Who we have, who don't have, the late start, the guys that are banged up. We can't make excuses and I can't start making excuses because we have to become tougher than that. The young guys have to learn that lesson and it's a tough one. Bringing those thing to the forefront only gives them a crutch and that's not what we need right now. We need to come together as a team and realize we can't get this game back."