Blue Demons End Skid with 65-60 Win Over Seton Hall
Feb. 25, 2014
ROSEMONT, Ill. – There were three seconds left on the shot clock in the heart of crunch time when Durrell McDonald beat the buzzer with a deep 3-pointer.
“It was awesome,” said teammate Brandon Young whose dunk and two free throws followed McDonald’s heroic shot in DePaul’s 65-60 BIG EAST Conference victory over Seton Hall Tuesday night at Allstate Arena.
“I put him in a bad spot giving him the ball with three seconds on the clock. But he knocked it down and it was a celebration after that.”
McDonald, whose nickname is “Nugget,” knew exactly what was transpiring with the game tied 58-58 and 2 minutes, 55 seconds left.
“I looked right at the shot clock,” McDonald said. “Soon as I saw it, I knew I had to shoot.
“I’d say it was the biggest shot I’ve ever made.”
Nugget was golden from behind the arc as DePaul (11-18, 3-13 in the BIG EAST) snapped a 10-game losing streak.
“Finally the basketball gods smiled down on us,” said DePaul coach Oliver Purnell about the huge three. “Every other big shot this year has gone the other way. We finally got a break in the end.”
Five consecutive Seton Hall points with less than four minutes in the game put the Pirates in front 58-56. Two Young free throws tied it up.
McDonald put his team ahead 61-58. Young’s breakaway left-handed dunk increased the margin to five with 1:22 left. Eugene Teague scored down low and it was 63-60 with 19 seconds to go. Young converted a one-and-bonus for the final margin.
That was symbolic of the Blue Demons’ dead-eye shooting from the stripe. They were 17-of-18 for the game including 13-of-13 in the second half. They also finished shooting 60 percent from the floor.
Young led the way with 19 points, four assists and three steals while Billy Garrett Jr. finished with 15 points, three assists and a 9-for-9 effort at the line. McDonald contributed a career-high 15 points and was 3-for-4 from behind the arc. Sandi Marcius came through with 10 points and nine rebounds in 35 minutes as Tommy Hamilton IV was sidelined by an illness.
“We finished this one off by taking our time and not forcing anything,” Young said. “We moved the ball well from side to side and tried to get touches inside.
“It’s a great feeling to win, and now we look forward to the next game.”
Seton Hall opened the second half with a 9-2 burst and sliced DePaul’s nine-point halftime lead to 40-38. After a pair of Garrett free throws, Fuquan Edwin scored back-to-back to tie it at 42-42.
Eight unanswered Pirate points produced a 50-44 lead for the visitors. Garrett’s three-point play and pair of free throws followed by a McDonald three allowed the Blue Demons to retake the lead at 52-50 with less than eight minutes to go.
It was tied at 52 when Garrett drove the lane and was fouled. He hit both free throws and Brian Oliver hit one free throw. Young’s jumper put DePaul up 56-53 with 5:07 left.
“We finished strong and our guys came up with some big defensive plays down the stretch,” Purnell said. “Peter Ryckbosch and Greg Sequele were tremendous for us defensively late in the game and that allowed us to rest Sandi and Forrest Robinson.
“Sandi gave us a yeoman effort, and our guards continue to play well.”
Seton Hall (14-14, 5-10) was led by Edwin’s 21 points.
Young and McDonald combined to go 7-for-7 in the early going and ignited a 14-4 Blue Demon surge to establish a five-point lead. DePaul made nine of its first 10 shots as Young and McDonald scored 18 of the first 20 points.
Four consecutive points by Marcius gave the Blue Demons a 26-17 lead. At that point, the home team was shooting a torrid 83 percent from the floor.
“We came out with a lot of energy,” Young said. “We remembered how they punched us in the mouth (86-69 loss) at Seton Hall.”
Robinson made it 29-20 after drilling a 3-pointer. A Seton Hall surge cut the margin to 31-26 with less than three minutes until halftime.
Back came the Blue Demons with another Robinson three and a Marcius basket for a 36-26 advantage. The Pirates pulled within seven when Marcius scored just before the horn for a 38-29 halftime lead.
Marcius had 10 points and seven rebounds in the first 20 minutes, and those seven boards matched Seton Hall’s team total. Young and McDonald each had nine points as DePaul was shooting 71.4 percent from the floor.
Next up for DePaul is the final road game of the regular season, an 11 a.m. tipoff Saturday at St. John’s in New York.
Notes: Tuesday’s matchup was the 14th meeting between the two programs... Seton Hall leads the all-time series 10-4, but the two programs are locked 2-2 in the past four meetings... the Blue Demons have knocked down a three-pointer in 640 straight games... DePaul’s last game without a three was Feb. 16, 1993 against UAB at Allstate Arena... the win snaps a season-high 10 game skid... Young scored his 1,800th career point with his first basket, becoming the sixth player in school history to reach that plateau... he joins Mark Aguirre, David Booth, Dave Corzine, George Mikan and Tom Kleinschmidt as the only players in program history with at least 1,800 career points... McDonald’s 15 points and three three-pointers made were both career highs... DePaul is 6-2 with four or more players in double-figures... DePaul shot a season-high .600 (21-35) from the field... the Blue Demons also knocked down 17-of-18 from the foul line for a season-high mark of .944.