Blue Demons Fall Despite Brandon Young's 24-Point Senior Night
March 6, 2014
Absolutely nothing went right in DePaul’s 79-46 BIG EAST Conference loss to Butler Thursday night at Allstate Arena.
Dropping the final regular-season game on Senior Night left the Blue Demons with a record of 11-20, 3-15 in the BIG EAST. Butler (13-16, 3-14) snapped a seven-game losing streak and moved ahead of DePaul into ninth place in the 10-team league with one game left to play.
Young led DePaul with 24 points on a night when his team shot 32.7 percent from the floor and went 1-for-18 from three-point range. Billy Garrett Jr. scored 12 points and came away with a team-high six rebounds.
Alex Barlow topped Butler with 19 points and five steals while Khyle Marshall added 18 points.
Young has been the face of the program these last four seasons. As a freshman, he was anointed the pilot of coach Oliver Purnell’s flight plan for returning DePaul to the heights of college basketball.
The 6-foot, 4-inch guard from Baltimore certainly left an indelible mark on the Blue Demon program. He is the only player in DePaul’s illustrious history with at least 1,200 points, 400 assists and 100 three-pointers in his career. He is the only Blue Demon to record 100 assists in all four seasons.
Young is fifth all-time in scoring, and needs seven more points to surpass Blue Demon legend George Mikan for fourth. Young is also fourth in career assists and steals and sixth in free throws.
As a sophomore, he scored the final seven points in an 84-81 upset of Pittsburgh that resulted in Blue Demon fans storming the court---a joyous, spontaneous celebration televised across the country by ESPN.
“We didn’t come out to battle in the beginning and waited until they hit us in the mouth,” Young said. “This is not the way I wanted it to end. But I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything in the world.
“This was my last home game and it hurt. It was tough walking off the (Allstate Arena) court for the final time knowing we weren’t winning. But I have a great group of guys around me, and I look at them like brothers.
“I want to say thank you to the coaching staff, Jeanne (Athletics Director Jean Lenti Ponsetto) and everyone else at DePaul supporting me and showing me love. I’ll always love DePaul, and if I had to do it all over again, I’d be right here.”
McGhee’s inspirational leadership and never-give-in attitude took the guard from Downstate Champaign on a journey from walk-on to team captain and president of Captains’ Council. Marcius opted to spend his final year of NCAA eligibility fortifying DePaul’s inside game. The 6-10 center contributed to DePaul leading the BIG EAST in offensive rebounds.
Trailing by 20 at halftime, the Blue Demons saw Butler open the second half with a 15-2 run in building a 33-point lead.
“It was a frustrating loss for us on Senior Night and it seemed like it was one thing after another,” said DePaul coach Oliver Purnell. “Three minutes before the game started, Sandi sprained his ankle. Billy had a bloody nose and with his sickle cell condition, there was a lot of concern. Charles McKinney was unable to play. And then Tommy Hamilton IV got ejected in the first half for a flagrant foul.
“This team had been resilient battling adversity all year long. Tonight, the frustration level kept building and it seemed like it was just too much.”
The Blue Demons made only one of their first 10 shots and fell victim to an early 11-0 Butler run. By the 12-minute mark of the first half, the home team trailed 15-2.
Everything was going wrong. Butler was controlling the backboards and Garrett had to sit with early foul trouble. Garrett returned and scored in cutting the Bulldog advantage to 20-10.
At that point, DePaul had made just four of its first 17 shots including 0-for-8 on three-point attempts.
With 6:20 left in the first half, Hamilton was called for the flagrant foul and ejected from the game. Butler went on to build a 28-14 lead.
The first half could not have ended much worse for the Blue Demons. Bulldog reserve Nolan Berry scored with one second left, then watched as Barlow stole the inbounds pass and threw it at the basket in one motion. The hopeful toss went in from behind the arc for a 38-18 halftime lead.
“We didn’t bring enough energy tonight, and Brandon was the only one who brought it,” Garrett said. “I’ve been managing my condition and the bloody nose had nothing to do with the way I played. It’s hard to have our last game at Allstate end this way.”
There is a chance for redemption when DePaul plays its first-round BIG EAST Championship game on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
“Our team has a choice whether or not to bounce back and really compete in the BIG EAST tournament,” Purnell said. “I’m sure the guys will make the right choice and play much better.”
For Young, every game from here on out could be his last.
“Thankfully, we have another game,” Young said. “We have another opportunity to bounce back.”
Notes: DePaul leads the all-time series 6-2 and split this season’s meetings, winning on the road against Butler in the last matchup… DePaul had won six straight against the Bulldogs going back to the 1938-39 season… Young finished in double figures for the 100th time in his career… it was his 30th career game with 20-plus points… the Blue Demons scored their fewest first-half points since 15 vs. USF in BIG EAST Tournament on March 9, 2010 in a 58-49 loss… it was the lowest-scoring game for DePaul since a 62-46 loss to West Virginia on Jan. 26, 2010… Garrett hit a three-pointer with less than a minute in the game to extend DePaul’s streak of consecutive games with a three to 642… the last time the Blue Demons failed to make a three was Feb. 16 1993 against UAB at Allstate Arena…