DePaul vs. Rutgers Game Preview

The Blue Demons return home to face Rutgers at Allstate Arena on Saturday afternoon. We hear from DePaul coach Oliver Purnell and preview the Big East battle in this report.

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DePaul Blue Demons (10-14, 1-10) vs. Rutgers (13-10, 4-8) – Saturday, February 16th, 12:00 p.m. Central – Allstate Arena, Rosemont, Illinois

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Game Preview

If DePaul (10-14, 1-10) has any intentions of snapping their nine-game losing streak and earning their second Big East victory, Saturday probably presents one of their best opportunities.

Granted DePaul's opponent, Rutgers (13-10, 4-8), is no slouch but they are 12th in the Big East standings and if DePaul can't win this game at home, it may not get another legitimate shot. That's because the rest of the home games (vs. Connecticut, Louisville and Pittsburgh) are-as of now-scheduled against teams in the top half of the conference standings.

Rutgers is coming off a 57-55 victory over Seton Hall on Tuesday night. The win snapped a six-game losing streak for Rutgers. In that game, the Scarlet Knights got double digit performances from Eli Carter (14) and Myles Mack (10). Carter (15.4 ppg) leads the Scarlet Knights in scoring while Mack is second on the team, contributing 12.6 points. Mack also leads the Big East in free throw shooting, spotting a sterling 92.9 shooting percentage.

DePaul, who dropped another heartbreaking overtime game at Notre Dame on Wednesday, 82-78, can take solace in the fact that they beat Rutgers on the road last year. In fact, the two teams have swapped close road victories in the last two years, with Rutgers winning in Rosemont 68-64 in 2011.

DePaul coach Oliver Purnell is not overlooking Rutgers and says DePaul will treat this like any other big conference game.

"We look at this game (and Rutgers) as no different than most of the Big East teams," said Purnell. "This is a team that could have won three or four more ballgames as well. They are very talented; we do know that from last year when preparing for them. Seeing some of the things they do, they do put some good stretches of basketball together."

The bottom line is DePaul needs this win if they are to gain any confidence heading forward. Purnell is looking for answers and knows what's at stake on Saturday.

"Right now it's all the same to us," Purnell said. "We got to prepare, go out and try to win a ball game and try to get over the top."

The Last Time

On January 25, 2012 at the Rutgers Athletic Center in New Jersey, DePaul freshman Jamee Crockett led the Blue Demons to a 69-64 win over the Scarlet Knights by scoring a career-high 20 points and grabbing seven rebounds coming off the bench.

Cleveland Melvin contributed with 14 points and Brandon Young added 11.

Myles Mack led Rutgers with 22 points on eight of 14 from the floor, while Jerome Seagears added 14.

Notes & Quotes

DePaul coach Oliver Purnell on his squad…

"We're almost there, we're close. Three of our last five have been overtime losses, two of them on the road. We're clearly putting ourselves in the position to win but we're not getting over the top. That speaks to probably our experience in terms of not having a lot of success. Someone who has won a bunch of those games, they have a level of confidence that helps in those situations. We're still in the process of learning to close out games and win."

Rutgers Roster

# Name Pos. Class Ht. Wt. HS/Hometown

5 CARTER, ELI G So. 6-2 195 St. Anthony/Brewster Academy / Paterson, N.J.

24 GARRETT, VINCENT G/F Jr. 6-5 210 Marshall Metropolitan/Lee College / Chicago, Ill.

23 HYDE, JALEN G Fr. 5-8 160 Franklin / Somerset, N.J.

22 JACK, KADEEM F R-So. 6-9 225 Rice / Queens, N.Y.

21 JOHNSON, AUSTIN F Sr. 6-8 250 Blair Academy / Elkins Park, Pa.

33 JUDGE, WALLY F R-Jr. 6-9 250 Arlington County Day/Kansas State / Washington, D.C.

30 KELLEY, LOGAN G Fr. 6-2 200 Governor Livingston / Mountainside, N.J.

13 KONE, MALICK G/F So. 6-5 200 Blue Ridge School / Conakry, Guinea

35 LEWIS, GREG F So. 6-9 240 St. Frances Academy / Randallstown, Md.

4 MACK, MYLES G So. 5-9 170 St. Anthony / Paterson, N.J.

2 MILLER, DANE G/F Sr. 6-6 215 Rush-Henrietta HS / Rochester, N.Y.

10 POOLE, MIKE G/F Jr. 6-5 195 St. Benedict's Prep / Rosedale, N.Y.

15 RANDALL, DERRICK F/C So. 6-8 240 South Kent School / Brooklyn, N.Y.

1 SEAGEARS, JEROME G So. 6-1 175 Flora MacDonald Academy / Silver Spring, Md.

25 ZURICH, STEPHEN F R-Fr. 6-4 195 Pascack Hills / Montvale, N.J.


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