Providence used a 23-7 run in the second half Saturday to pull away from DePaul for an 87-66 win at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
DePaul trailed 48-45 with 15:29 remaining. Providence, which had been in a tailspin with a 1-5 record in February entering Saturday, needed to win to keep itself from falling to a precarious position on the NCAA Tournament bubble. The Friars already lost to DePaul earlier this month at Allstate Arena and have two losses against Marquette.
Providence scored six straight points to increase its lead to 54-45. DePaul junior guard Billy Garrett Jr. stopped the bleeding momentarily with a layup, but Providence responded again with six points unanswered.
By the end of the extended run, the Friars led 71-52 with 8:03 left.
Providence star guard Kris Dunn did not start because he is battling a virus, and he was clearly not himself when he subbed in. He finished with two points and four assists in 17 minutes of action.
But the Friars had four starters, including replacement point guard Kyron Cartwright, score in double figures to carry the team.
Forward Ben Bentil, who missed most of the first matchup with DePaul after injuring his ankle in the first half, dominated with 28 points on 9-of-15 shooting. The 6-foot-9 sophomore also had nine rebounds and five assists.
Cartwright recorded 16 points and eight assists.
DePaul was led by freshman guard Eli Cain, who continued a late-season outburst with 22 points on 7-of-10 shooting. Cain has scored at least 12 points in five of the last six games, including a 16-point effort earlier this week against St. John’s.
Junior guard Darrick Wood tied a career-high with 15 points off the bench.