March 13, 2013
NEW YORK (AP) - Wally Judge was perfect and so was Rutgers for one of the rare times this season.
Judge hit all nine of his shots and scored a season-high 20 points to go with 10 rebounds, leading the Scarlet Knights to a 76-57 victory over DePaul on Tuesday night in the first round of the Big East tournament.
''I thought for 40 minutes the energy, the intensity and the ability to play for one another was there,'' Rutgers coach Mike Rice said.
Myles Mack added 19 points to help the No. 11-seeded Scarlet Knights (15-15) advance to the second round of the nation's showcase college basketball tournament for only the sixth time in 14 trips to Madison Square Garden. Jerome Seagears added 15 points and Mike Poole scored all eight of his after intermission.
Judge's 9-for-9 performance matches a Big East tournament record for accuracy. Boston College's Craig Smith in 2005 and Ricky Wright of Villanova in 2001 were both 9 of 9 in conference tournament games.
Cleveland Melvin had 25 points for DePaul (11-21), which ended the season with only one win in its last 17 games - and it came against Rutgers.
Rutgers won with phenomenal shooting and strong play underneath the baskets, where it held a 36-20 rebounding edge.
The big difference was the shooting. The Scarlet Knights hit 23 of their first 33 shots, nearly 70 percent, with the remarkable statistic being their start to the second half. After shooting nearly 61 percent in the first 20 minutes, they came out and hit nine of their first 10 after intermission with Judge scoring the first two baskets inside.
The run turned a one-point lead into a double-digit margin that was never threatened.
''I thought they made six or maybe eight of their first eight shots in the second half,'' DePaul coach Oliver Purnell said. ''That kind of gave them a little bit of a working margin. I thought we got a little unnerved at that point. That happened to us so many times this year. We felt like we were down further than we really were.''
Brandon Young added 15 points for DePaul, which was held to 41.6 percent shooting.
Rutgers shot nearly 61 percent and outrebounded DePaul 17-8 in the first half, with the margin coming courtesy of a last-second 3-pointer by Mack, who was 8 of 15 from the field.
The reason it was so close was Rutgers' 11 turnovers, which led to a 13-2 Blue Demon advantage on points off the miscues.
Neither team led by more than five points in a half which featured six lead changes.
- Rutgers leads the all-time series by a 6-4 margin... the loss ended a two-game winning streak for DePaul against the Scarlet Knights... Tuesday was the first meeting between the two programs in the BIG EAST Championship.
- Cleveland Melvin moved into 12th place on DePaul's all-time scoring list... he finishes his junior season with 1,458 career points... the 25-point game was his 28th career game of at least 20 points.
- Brandon Young finishes his junior season in a tie for 16th all-time with 1,378 points... he is tied with Tyrone Corbin (1981-85).
- DePaul is now 1-6 all-time in BIG EAST Championship games.