Clahar's Career Day Leads DePaul Over Rutgers
Feb. 16, 2013
ROSEMONT, Ill. - The smallest guy on the court came up so huge for DePaul on Saturday.
Worrell Clahar's career-high 19 points and the biggest rebound of the game in the waning moments catapulted the Blue Demons to a 75-69 BIG EAST Conference victory over Rutgers at Allstate Arena.
For good measure, Clahar hit a free throw with 19 seconds to go for a little insurance.
The win snapped a nine-game losing streak.
DePaul led 70-66 with 35 seconds left when Charles McKinney missed on a jumper. Clahar leaped and extended every bit of his 5-foot, 11-inch frame in corralling the rebound. Seven seconds later, Brandon Young buried two free throws.
"It's not about size---it's about determination," said Clahar, who also had seven assists, four rebounds and three steals in his best performance as a Blue Demon. "I knew that rebound was so important for our team. Being a senior leader, I just had to do it."
In three recent overtime losses, DePaul needed a hero in crunch time. Clahar answered the call on Saturday.
"He came up with loose balls and key rebounds. He drove against their zone near the end and made a layup. How big was that?
"It was so important to say to our players and to our crowd that we were in good shape."
Myles Mack scored 14 points in a row for Rutgers as the visiting team went ahead 66-64 with less than three minutes left in the second half. Clahar tied the game with a driving layup.
After McKinney's free throw provided a one-point lead, Clahar converted a three-point play off a tough drive in the lane on the layup Purnell described.
In crunch time, Clahar was assigned to defend Mack, who finished with a game-high 28 points. Rutgers fell to 13-11, 4-9 in the BIG EAST Conference.
"Not many guys in the BIG EAST can get it going like Mack," Purnell said. "Worrell bull-dogged him and turned him over. He did a nice job defensively at the end."
A Clahar steal led to a pair of free throws and 64-59 DePaul lead. Back came Mack with a three-pointer, and with 3:34 showing on the clock, the Blue Demon lead was cut to 64-62. His layup tied the game at 64.
Brandon Young came away with 16 points, six rebounds and three steals. Cleveland Melvin contributed 15 points and six boards while Donnavan Kirk added 11 points and seven rebounds as DePaul improved to 11-14, 2-10 in the BIG EAST.
"It feels great to break the losing streak," Young said. "After those overtime games, we're usually standing here looking sad and feeling bad. This was key for us moving forward.
"The difference at the end today was making stops, and everyone contributed defensively. Worrell came through with that big rebound and his defense. Everybody did something extra today."
DePaul went on a 10-0 run early in the second half in building a 42-34 lead. Kirk hit a three-pointer and Young followed with a three-point play. Young scored again and Melvin slammed home a two-hand dunk to finish off a fast break.
The Scarlet Knights came within four points at 48-44. A hook shot by Kirk and Young's drive to the basket gave the Blue Demons at 58-48 lead with less than 10 minutes to go in the game.
DePaul went ahead 32-31 just before halftime on an acrobatic Clahar bank shot driving to the hoop. Eli Carter's free throw sent the game into intermission tied at 32-32.
Clahar, who has been playing well in recent games, led DePaul with 11 points in the first 20 minutes. He was particularly effective penetrating to the basket and converting in the lane.
DePaul will look to make it two in a row with a 6 p.m. BIG EAST game Wednesday at Georgetown.
- Rutgers still leads the all-time series 5-4, but the Blue Demons have now won the past two meetings.
- The win snaps a season-high nine game losing streak for DePaul.
- DePaul has now made a three-point basket in 604 straight games dating back 20 years to the day (Feb. 16 1993)
- Cleveland Melvin moved into 18th place all-time on DePaul's career scoring list with 1,338 career points, passing recent DePaul Hall of Fame inductee Terence Greene (1,334 points)... Melvin finished in double figures (13 points) for the 21st time this season and 69th time in his career.
- Brandon Young moved into ninth-place all-time on DePaul's career assist chart with three assists... he now has 374 career helpers, passing Cliff Clinkscales (373 assists)...
- Worrel Clahar made his sixth career start in BIG EAST play and eighth of his Blue Demon career, the senior guard finished with a career-high 19 points and finished in double figures for the third time in his past four games.