DePaul Blue Demons vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights – Tuesday, February 16th, 8:00 p.m. Central – Allstate Arena, Rosemont, Illinois
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This week is Jersey Shore week for the DePaul Blue Demons (8-16,1-11). Coming off a 79-71 loss on the road at Seton Hall on Sunday, they now return home to face Rutgers (13-12, 3-9) on a short turnaround between games.
This game represents one of DePaul's best opportunities to end their six game losing streak and get one in the W column in Big East play.
Rutgers is coming off a stunning 71-68 upset of seventh ranked Georgetown on Sunday.
Forward Jonathan Mitchell had arguably his best game in a Rutgers uniform in the win over the Hoyas, finishing with a career-high 24 points.
While Mike Rosario had a sub-par 10 point, three of 16 shooting performance against Georgetown, he is the straw that stirs the drink for the Knights. The former McDonald's All-American is averaging 16.4 ppg.
Freshman Dane Miller is making a case for Big East Freshman of the Year consideration.
Miller has een named Big East Rookie of the Week for the second consecutive week. Against the Hoyas, Miller contributed with a double-double of 13 points and 10 boards, while adding four assists, one steal and two blocked shots.
Miller leads all freshmen in the league in scoring averaging 12.5 ppg, has the most steals of any freshman, and is third in assists and rebounding for frosh.
Fourth year coach Fred Hill had been rumored to be on the hot seat, but the win over the Hoyas may have saved his job for now. A loss to the Blue Demons would be a setback for him. Hill feels like the mythological Sisyphus trying to get the Knights over the hump.
"We have been pushing a snowball uphill for some time, and we're not up there yet to start pushing it down the other side, but we're getting closer and closer to where we need to be to turn that momentum and start pushing that snowball down the hill," said Hill. "It is going to be a lot of fun when that happens and you can see with this group, they're getting closer and closer to making it happen."
After several close losses, this could be the game where the Blue Demons finally click on all cylinders. Freshman Tony Freeland had a breakout game on Sunday where he scored a career-high 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Mike Stovall seems to save his best performances for Allstate Arena games. If Freeland and Stovall click along with mainstays Will Walker and Mac Koshwal, look out.
For interim coach Tracy Webster though this game is all about the defense.
"It's going to have to start on the defensive end," Webster told WSCR Radio. "We're going to have to do a good job of not allowing these guys open looks at the basket."
The Last Time
In January, 2009, the Blue Demons lost at Rutgers 75-56.
Rutgers was paced by both Jaron Griffin's and Mike Rosario's 16 points. Rutgers tied its season high with 31 field goals. They easily got the ball into the post while scoring 40 points in the paint. DePaul's best post presence Mac Koshwal had one of his worst games of the season with only five points and six rebounds.
DePaul was led by a game high and season high 23 points from junior guard Will Walker. Dar Tucker was the only other Blue Demon in double figures with 14 points, but only connecting five of 17 field goal attempts.
# Name Pos. Class Ht. Wt. HS/Hometown
10 BEATTY, JAMES G Jr. 6-2 195 New Hanover HS/Miami-Dade JC / Wilmington, N.C.
31 COBURN, MIKE G Jr .6-0 185 Mt. Vernon HS / Mt. Vernon, N.Y.
25 HASANI, MUHAMED G Fr. 6-3 190 Gymnasium Sami Frasheri / Pristina, Kosovo
23 JACKSON, PATRICK F So. 6-6 210 Boys & Girls HS / Brooklyn, N.Y
21 JOHNSON, AUSTIN F Fr. 6-8 230 Blair Academy / Elkins Park, Pa.
40 KOKOSINSKI, TOMASZ F So. 6-7 235 Bergen County Technical HS / Bergenfield, N.J
22 KUHN, MIKE G So 6-1 190 Christian Brothers Academy / Oceanport, N.J.
11 MILLER, DANE F Fr. 6-7 210 Rush-Henrietta HS / Henrietta, N.Y.
24 MITCHELL, JONATHAN F R-Jr. 6-7 225 Mt. Vernon HS/Florida / Mt. Vernon, N.Y.
5 NDIAYE, HAMADY C Sr. 7-0 235 Stoneridge Prep (CA) / Dakar, Senegal
32 OKAM, BRIAN C Fr. 7-0 245 Lake Highland Preparatory School / Enugu, Nigeria
15 RIGOGLIOSO, CHARLIE G Jr 6-2 185 Wayne Valley / Wayne, N.J.
3 ROSARIO, MIKE G So. 6-3 180 Saint Anthony HS / Jersey City, N.J.
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