The Blue Demons were down but never out.
Playing in the first round of the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, No. 10 DePaul denied No. 7 Seton Hall a game winner to advance to the second round.
The drama started well before the buzzer, however.
Down five with 40 seconds remaining, DePaul junior guard Jalen Terry hit a deep three to cut Seton Hall’s lead to two.
The Pirates sank two free throws to give themselves a two-possession lead, but Terry once again found the basket with six seconds left, this time laying up the ball on an assist from senior guard Umoja Gibson. Terry repaid the favor on the very next play, intercepting the inbound pass before hitting Gibson just outside the 3-point line.
The 41.2% 3-point shooter missed the shot, but got the chance to put his team on top from the charity stripe thanks to a costly foul from Seton Hall forward KC Ndefo.
After sinking all three free throws, the Blue Demons suddenly found themselves on top for the first time since five minutes into the second half.
Despite having one timeout in his back pocket, Seton Hall head coach Shaheen Holloway opted to let his team run. Junior Femi Odukale took off with a head of steam down the court just in time for a layup with time expiring.
What happened next was the perfect ending to a thrilling matchup.
Odukale’s shot was blocked by DePaul senior Nick Ongenda, but he was called for goaltending, resulting in an automatic two points to give the Pirates a 67-66 win.
While Odukale and his teammates celebrated the last-second play, the refs went back to review it, eventually determining after several long minutes that Ongenda made contact with the ball before it hit the backboard and was, in fact, a block.
With the slow two-point deduction, DePaul’s postseason hopes were resuscitated.
DePaul now advances to face No. 2 Xavier in the quarterfinals on Thursday. The Blue Demons upset the Musketeers in mid-January, one of only three conference wins.
The win by DePaul likely denied Holloway a chance to return to the NCAA Tournament, where he made a name for himself after leading No. 15 Saint Peter’s University to the Elite Eight last year.
They’ll likely need to recreate some of that magic tomorrow if they want a chance at any other postseason tournaments.