ROSEMONT, Ill. — Marquette coach Tom Crean promised to bring a megaphone next time his team plays at the Allstate Arena. That way, he said, maybe the referees will be able to hear his cries for a timeout.
Crean tried to stop the clock and set up a play in the final minute Wednesday night. But when he couldn't get one called, Dominic James put up about a 30-foot airball with 14 seconds to go and DePaul was able to hold on and upset No. 12 Marquette Eagles 72-67.
"It must have been the loudest building in America for the referee not to hear me screaming for a timeout," Crean said.
"We never got a chance to put this thing in our hands to at least tie it."
Draelon Burns' two free throws gave DePaul a 70-67 lead with 26 seconds left. But on the ensuing possession Marquette never got into its offense before James put up his long 3-point attempt that missed everything.
Sammy Mejia then made one of two free throws for DePaul, James missed another 3-pointer and then Karron Clarke dropped in one more free throw to give DePaul the final margin of victory with two seconds left.
"That's not the one we wanted. We wanted the side out," Crean said of James' long misfire. "We spend 10 to 15 minutes a day working on our late game situations. ...I guess I didn't yell loud enough, I guess I'll bring a megaphone next time. I'm not sour graping it either," he added.
"They won the game, but we would have loved to had an opportunity to see if we could execute at the end. And I still for the life of me can't figure out why we didn't get that."
James led Marquette (21-6, 8-4 in the Big East) with 17 points, while Jerel McNeal and Dan Fitzgerald added 16 points each for the Golden Eagles, who lost their second straight, both on the road.
Mejia paced DePaul with 18 points. Wilson Chandler and Marcus Heard scored 14 points each for DePaul (15-11, 6-6), which had beaten Notre Dame in its previous game.
"We did a pretty good job of stopping their transition, although you're not going to completely stop them," Mejia said. "It was a big game for us, a top-15 team. ... We're at a point where we can make a push as far as getting into the top half of the Big East."
Wesley Matthews, who finished with 12 points, sank a 3-pointer with 36 seconds left to pull Marquette within 67-65.
After a timeout, Chandler broke for the other end but was fouled with 35.7 seconds to play. He made a free throw and after McNeal's 3-pointer rimmed out, Matthews got the rebound, was fouled and hit two free throws. That made it one-point game in favor of DePaul with 26.5 seconds to go, setting the stage for a frenetic finish.
"It came down to execution," James said. "Coach was trying to get a timeout called on the sideline, but couldn't get it done. We had shots, but we just didn't knock them down."
The Blue Demons forged a 40-33 lead after a fast-paced first half, shooting 53 percent and holding Marquette to 39 percent. After missing six of their first eight shots, the Blue Demons used a 14-4 run to build a five-point lead and then went up by as many as nine points, the last time at 36-27 on a follow basket by Clarke.
McNeal had 11 points and Fitzgerald had eight points off the bench to keep the Golden Eagles close. Chandler led DePaul with nine.
Matthews hurt his right leg with two seconds to in the first half when he went high for a lob pass, couldn't catch it and then fell to the floor. He stayed down for a couple of minutes and then walked slowly to the Marquette bench but was OK to start the second half.
A minute into the second half, DePaul starting point guard Jabari Currie was hit in the eye when James threw the ball off him to keep from losing it out of bounds.
Marquette closed the gap to two with Currie on the bench as James scored six points and DePaul suddenly went cold, missing seven of its first eight shots.
DePaul shot just 29 percent in the second half but was 15-of-22 from the line.