Rutgers Knocks DePaul from Big East Tourney

After a nip and tuck game for most of the first half, Rutgers took it to DePaul in the second half and came out on top for a 76-57 victory in the first round of the Big East Tournament. Rutgers will now face Notre Dame in the second round of the conference tournament, whereas DePaul's season abruptly ends in frustration once again.

DePaul couldn't contain Rutgers hot-shooting ways, as the Scarlet Knights shot a blistering 61.1 percent percent from the field for the game and 54.5 percent from 3-point territory. Conversely, DePaul only shot 41.5 percent from the floor and a dismal 16.7 (3-18) from three point land.

After Myles Mack beat the buzzer with a three-point shot to put Rutgers ahead 32-31 at halftime, all the momentum seemed to sway in the Scarlet Knight's favor from that point on.

DePaul Coach Oliver Purnell agreed.

"Mack's three at the end of the half was a big basket for him," Purnell said. "I think they made six, seven or maybe eight of their first eight shots in the second half. That kind of gave them a little bit of a working margin."

Rutgers did open the second half on a 16-6 run and DePaul never got any closer than eight points in the second half.

DePaul was punished on the boards once again, losing the rebound battle 36-20.

"Their inside game, that stretch (to open the second half) and our inability to generate some sound offense once we started to turn them over proved to be our undoing," Purnell said.

Rutgers' Wally Judge was a man among boys under the basket tonight. In fact, his 9-9 showing from the field is a new Big East Tournament record for field goals made without a miss (minimum nine attempts). Judge was the difference in the game, scoring a team-high 20 points and 10 rebounds.

"Judge and the rest of their big guys dominated inside, particularly on the back boards, and inside as well with high percentage (shots)," Purnell said.

On the night Rutgers had 50 points in the paint, compared to DePaul's 28.

Mack chipped in 19 points for the Scarlet Knights while Jerome Seagears had 15 points and seven rebounds for Rutgers.

DePaul got 25 points from Cleveland Melvin, which led all scorers. Brandon Young was only other Demon to top double figures with 15 points.

With another season of stalled progress, Purnell will once again go back to the drawing board for answers. Purnell expressed his team has a lot of work to do and it all starts by looking in the mirror.

"We clearly can't stand pat even though I felt like we were really close," Purnell concluded "Being really close and standing pat doesn't work. So the first thing I told the guys was that we all need to look in the mirror and see what each individual could have done better, and that starts with me."

"So that's where I'll start, in the mirror tonight."

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