Young Ignites Comeback that Falls Short
March 2, 2011
ROSEMONT, Ill. - The next time DePaul plays a home game at Allstate Arena, coming close won't be nearly enough.
A battle-scarred, injury-laded Blue Demon team once again summoned up a gutsy second-half effort, only to come up short 68-64 to Rutgers Wednesday night in its BIG EAST Conference home finale.
With only nine scholarship players at his disposal, DePaul coach Oliver Purnell did his best to keep his guys fresh for a furious finish.
It almost worked.
After Jonathan Mitchell made two free throws with :22 to go, Purnell set up a potential game-tying play. Young drove upcourt and set up Morgan in the corner for a three-pointer.
"I don't know if the pass was a little behind him, but Moses definitely fumbled the ball," Purnell said. "He got off the shot and just missed it.
"Anytime you can get Moses an open look, you have to take it."
Morgan agreed with his coach.
"I thought it was a pretty good look," said Morgan, who wound up with 10 points. "But now that I think about it, I had enough time to drive to the basket, score, maybe get fouled and go into overtime."
But Rutgers (14-15, 5-12 in the BIG EAST) made five free throws in the final 26 seconds to put this one away.
Young came up big again in the absence of leading scorer Cleveland Melvin, who is out for the rest of the season with a thumb injury. Young led the Blue Demons with 21 points, including 14 in the second half.
"When he's aggressive, he gets more opportunities to score," Purnell said about his freshman point guard. "Brandon is one of the guys who has to score for us. It's a lot to overcome without Cleve (Melvin) out there."
DePaul (7-22, 1-16) fell behind 37-22 early in the second half before going on a 19-5 run. Young's three-pointer with 13:10 left in the second half cut the Scarlet Knights' lead to 42-41.
Down 59-52, the Blue Demons made their final push courtesy of seven-straight Young points and Morgan's three-point play.
"But we didn't play hard for two halves."
With his good friend Melvin sidelined, Young has become the focal point of opposing defenses.
"I can tell you, we all miss Cleve," Young said. "People are sending taller, more athletic guys at me. When Cleve is playing, teams have to worry more about stopping him."
Purnell is counting on a talented incoming recruiting class for next season to augment his returning core of freshmen Young, Melvin, Morgan, sophomore Tony Freeland and juniors Jeremiah Kelly and Krys Faber.
DePaul closes out the regular season with a 3 p.m. game Saturday at No. 12 Syracuse.