DePaul (8-17, 1-12) started out strong and played hard-nosed defense in the first half to jump out to a 35-24 lead by halftime. The Blue Demons forced 18 turnovers and scored 23 points off of those miscues.
"It was a tough loss," said DePaul Interim Coach Tracy Webster. "I thought our guys did a really good job in our walkthrough today and it carried over in the first half. They had a ton of energy, that's what we wanted."
In the second half, Rutgers (14-12, 4-9) rallied back by dominating on the glass and scoring second chance points. The Scarlet Knights pulled even at 46-46 at the 11:20 mark on a layup by freshman Dane Miller.
The Blue Demons let this one slip away and had an opportunity to tie the game with 41 seconds left, when Mac Koshwal went to the line and missed the front end of a one-and-one. Rutgers made their free throws down the stretch to preserve the win.
Mac Koshwal turned in his best performance for DePaul since returning from a foot injury last month. The junior big man led all scorers with 24 points, 12 rebounds, eight steals, and two blocked shots.
"Mac had eight steals for the game, he was all over the place," said Webster. "I mean he was really, really active."
Will Walker contributed with 19 points for the Demons.
The Scarlet Knights featured four players in double-figures. Center Hamady Ndiaye led the way with 15 points and 13 boards. Miller contributed 14 points. The Demons held Mike Rosario to 11 points on three of 12 from the floor. Mike Coburn, who came in off the bench to provide Rutgers with a spark, scored 10.
The Blue Demons were outrebounded 43-25 in the contest. The battle on the boards was the big difference in the second half.
"We expect everyone to rebound, not just Mac," Webster said. "We expect everyone to block out and chase down long rebounds and try to continue to help each other."
"I give them credit, they had a lot of guys attacking the boards," Koshwal said. "They had a few big guys, we tried to box out. We were playing so much uptempo defense that we extended. They had chances to run at us, there were a few open gaps. We've just got to work on it and box out."
The Blue Demons return to Allstate Arena on Saturday afternoon for a matchup with the Louisville Cardinals.
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