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DePaul and Rutgers Square Off in Round One

March 11, 2013

Rutgers Gameday Article Big East Tournament

BIG EAST Championship Information/Game Notes
DePaul:
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TV: ESPNU  | Radio: WSCR 670 AM
Online Video: WatchESPN | Online Audio: BlueTube

NEW YORK - DePaul opens its 2013 BIG EAST Championship against Rutgers on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden. The Blue Demons and Scarlet Knights are scheduled for a 9 p.m. ET start following the Seton Hall-USF game. The Blue Demons are looking for their third straight win over Rutgers and enter the tournament as the 14th seed while the Scarlet Knights are the No. 11 seed. DePaul claimed the lone regular-season meeting by a 75-69 score on Feb. 16 at Allstate Arena.

Tuesday's game will be televised on ESPNU with Sean McDonough (play-by-play), Bill Raftery (analyst) and Jay Bilas (analyst) handling the television duties. The broadcast is also available online at WatchESPN. DePaul's radio tandem of Zach Zaidman (play-by-play) and Jeff Blanzy (analyst) can be heard on WSCR 670 AM, on BlueTube at www.depaulbluedemons.com and on DePaul's mobile app. Live stats can be found on GameTracker at www.depaulbluedemons.com while in-game scoring updates and notes can be followed at www.twitter.com/depaulsid.

DePaul stands at 11-20 overall and finished the BIG EAST schedule at 2-16 while Rutgers holds a 14-15 overall record and 5-13 mark in league play. DePaul head coach Oliver Purnell is in his third season at DePaul and his 25th as a head coach at the collegiate level. Rutgers' Mike Rice is in his third season leading the Scarlet Knights. Tuesday's game is the first meeting between the two sides in conference tournament play.

The winner of the DePaul-Rutgers game advances to the second round to play sixth-seeded Notre Dame on Wednesday night. That game will be on ESPN2 and WSCR 670 AM at 9 p.m. ET.

Noting the Blue Demons: The men's basketball program is 1,395-900 (.608) all-time... the Blue Demons have knocked down at least one three-pointer in 610 straight games... DePaul's last game without a three was Feb. 16, 1993 against UAB at Allstate Arena... the Blue Demons are 317-151 (.677) all-time at Allstate Arena... DePaul is 7-1 (.875) all-time in games at McGrath-Phillips Arena... in each of Oliver Purnell's three seasons at DePaul, the Blue Demons have faced three Chicagoland opponents during the non-conference portion of the schedule with an 8-1 record in those games... in the Purnell era, the Blue Demons are 15-3 (6-0 in 2012-13) when scoring 80 or more points... DePaul has used eight different starting lineups this season... only Brandon Young has started every game this season... DePaul played back-to-back overtime games on Jan. 30 at St. John's and Feb. 2 against Notre Dame for the first time since the 1987-88 season... DePaul has never played three straight overtime games.

The Opponent - Rutgers Scarlet Knights: Rutgers enters Tuesday's game at 14-15 overall and 5-13 in BIG EAST play... the Scarlet Knights are the No. 11 seed in the BIG EAST Championship... a 56-51 win over Seton Hall on March 8 snapped a five-game losing streak... Myles Mack leads the team with 13.3 points per game and 55 three-pointers... Dane Miller adds a scoring average of 6.9 points along with 4.8 rebounds per game... head coach Mike Rice is in his third season leading the Rutgers program... DePaul head coach Oliver Purnell is 2-1 all-time against the Scarlet Knights.

The Series: Tuesday is the 10th meeting between the two programs... Rutgers holds a 5-4 advantage in the series... DePaul has won the last two meetings against the Scarlet Knights... DePaul won two of the first three meetings before Rutgers won four in-a-row... the Blue Demons posted a 69-64 win at Rutgers last season... Rutgers last win in the series was a 68-64 decision at Allstate Arena on March 2, 2011... each of the last five meetings have been decided by nine points or less including four by six points or less... Tuesday's game is the first meeting on a neutral floor.

The Last Meeting: Worrel Clahar's career-high 19 points led DePaul to a 75-69 win at Allstate Arena on Feb. 16, 2013... Myles Mack scored 14 points in-a-row for Rutgers as the visiting team went ahead 66-64 with less than three minutes left... Mack led all scorers with 28 points... Brandon Young finished with 16 points, six rebounds and three steals... Cleveland Melvin scored 15 points with six boards and Donnavan Kirk added 11 points and seven rebounds.. DePaul went on a 10-0 run early in the second half in building a 42-34 lead.

It Could Happen: Cleveland Melvin (1,433 pts.) needs 16 points to pass Rod Strickland (1,448 pts., 1985-88) for 12th all-time at DePaul... with 16 points, Brandon Young (1,363 pts.) jumps from 18th placed to 16th on the scoring list... Stanley Brundy (1985-89) is 17th with 1,375 points and Tyrone Corbin (1981-85) is 16th with 1,378 points... Moses Morgan (107 three's) needs three three-pointers to move from 15th to 13th on the three-point field goal list...  a win would be No. 425 as a head coach for Oliver Purnell... a win also ends a four-game losing streak in the BIG EAST Tournament.

Demon Doings: Notes following DePaul's 81-66 loss against No. 20/22 Pittsburgh on March 9:
- Pittsburgh leads the series, 9-2... Saturday was the final BIG EAST regular-season meeting between the two programs... the Panthers begin ACC play next season.
- Brandon Young became the first player in program history with at least 1,200 points, 400 assists and 100 three-pointers... he is also the 17th player in school history with 100 three's.
- Worrel Clahar matched his career high with 19 points.
- Pittsburgh set an Allstate Arena record with a team field goal percentage of .717 (33-46)... the mark was also a program record and the highest by a BIG EAST team in a conference game.
- Cleveland Melvin recorded his 100th career blocked shot to become the ninth player in school history with 100 rejections... Melvin didn't start for the first time this season.
- Senior Stuart Pirri made his first collegiate start... DePaul has now used eight different starting lineups this season.
- DePaul concludes its 33rd season at Allstate Arena... the Blue Demons have a 317-151 (.677) all-time record in Rosemont.
- The Blue Demons have lost 44 straight games against ranked opponents.

Fun With Numbers: DePaul has scored the same amount of points in back-to-back games on three separate occasions this season (69 vs. Northern Illinois and UMBC, 71 vs. Notre Dame and Villanova, 78 vs. Marquette and Notre Dame)... with 142 assists this season, Brandon Young is the first player since Rod Strickland (1985-88) with at least 100 assists in three straight seasons... for the second straight season, two players have totaled at least 100 assists... in addition to Young's 139 assists, Worrel Clahar has 103 assists... DePaul has combined to shoot at least .900 from the free throw line in two games this season (minimum 10 attempts)... it is the first time since the 1999-00 campaign with at least two games (minimum 10 attempts) with a .900 or better... DePaul's .900 (18-20) mark at St. John's on Jan. 30 was the highest team free throw percentage since going 13-for-13 against Minnesota on Nov. 24, 2011 at the Old Spice Classic... the Blue Demons bettered that mark at Marquette on Feb. 9 with a free throw percentage of .917 (11-12)... St. John's and Syracuse are the only teams to defeat DePaul this season when shooting less than 40 percent... the Blue Demons are 5-2 when holding opponents under .400 from the field... the Blue Demons are 8-1 when leading at halftime with the lone loss against Connecticut on Feb. 23... DePaul is 2-0 this season on Friday... the .277 (18-65) field goal percentage at Pittsburgh on Jan. 26 was the lowest team field goal percentage since a .241 (14-58) mark at Northwestern on Dec. 6, 2008... on 12/12/12, No. 12 Cleveland Melvin scored 12 points at Arizona State... a year earlier on 11/11/11, No. 11 Jeremiah Kelly scored 11 points against UT-Pan American.

Made Em Jump Like Rod Strickland: While he's not quite at Wu-Tang Clan-lyric status, junior guard Brandon Young has compiled stats that haven't been seen at DePaul since the days of Rod Strickland from 1985-88. Over his three seasons, Strickland totaled 1,448 points and 557 assists while Young has 1,363 points and 404 assists nearing the end of his junior campaign.

Young is the first DePaul guard since Strickland with three straight seasons of at least 100 assists and against Pittsburgh on March 9, he put himself in his own category as the only player in program history with at least 1,200 points, 400 assists and 100 three-pointers. Young enters the Rutgers game with 100 three-pointers in addition to his 1,363 points and 404 assists.

Strickland concluded his DePaul career with a scoring average of 16.6 points along with 6.4 assists per game in 87 career games. Entering the Rutgers game, Young is averaging 14.7 points and 4.3 assists in 93 career games. Strickland played for nine NBA teams from 1988-05 and is currently on the Kentucky staff as special assistant to the head coach.

Who's Next: With a win, DePaul advances to the second round to play sixth-seeded Notre Dame... the Blue Demons and Irish played a pair of overtime games during the regular season with Notre Dame claiming the win on both occasions...  the Irish posted a 79-71 overtime decision on Feb. 2 at Allstate Arena and an 82-78 overtime win on Feb. 13 at the Joyce Center... a Wednesday night date would be the 105th all-time meeting between the two programs... Notre Dame leads the series, 60-44.