Young, men's basketball fall to No. 19/18 Louisville in overtime
Sophomore guard leads Blue Demons with game-high 27 points
Published: Saturday, February 18, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 16:08
The looks on the faces of Brandon Young and Oliver Purnell after the game said it all. They let one get away.
Young scored a season-high 27 points but he and the rest of the Blue Demons could not pull through with the upset, falling to No. 19/18 ranked Louisville 90-82 in overtime Saturday afternoon at Allstate Arena.
Purnell looked exhausted in the postgame press conference and even acknowledged being drained. Young had a blank look on his face, not normally seen after a player has their best game of the season.
"The bad is that we didn't get the job done and we took a few defensive possessions off in the meat of the game," Purnell said. "The good, of course, is that we played at a much higher level than we did the other night. We put ourselves in a position to win and we played our style of basketball."
The good he referred to was the first half, which saw DePaul jump out to as large as a 17-point lead. For a good amount of the first half, the Blue Demons were able to quiet the sizable contingent of Louisville fans. It was estimated that around 60 coach buses arrived in Chicago for the game and the weekend.
The crowd made it feel like a game at the KFC Yum! Center, Louisville's home court. But DePaul was firing on all cylinders in the first half, shooting nearly 55 percent (17-of-31) from the field.
By halftime, Louisville was able to cut the DePaul lead to 42-32, and came out strong in the second half. The Cardinals were buoyed by Kyle Kuric's sharp shooting from three-point land (he finished with a team-high 25 points) and timely offensive rebounds that led to second-chance points, which Louisville won the battle 23-12.
"In the second half, we weren't doing the little things on defense like rebounding and blocking out and talking on D," Young said about the drastic change between halves. "As you can see, it hurt us at the end of the game."
During Big East play, DePaul tends to have a solid first half and let their guard down totally in the second half. That wasn't the case against the Cardinals. Even as Louisville came back and the mostly red-clad crowd was deafening, the Blue Demons answered back the entire second half.
Just when it seemed like Louisville would escape with a victory in regulation, up 76-72 with just under a minute remaining, Donnavan Kirk stepped up and hit a clutch three to bring DePaul within a point.
"I knew he was going to knock that down," freshman Charles McKinney said. "He can shoot for a big. He knocks them down in practice all the time."
Purnell also had words of high praise for Kirk, who seems to be as healthy as he's been all season.
"I thought he was a real presence out for us," Purnell said of Kirk, who finished with 11 points as one of three Blue Demons in double-figure scoring. "Hopefully we can get 25 to 30 minutes from him for the rest of the season.
With less than 10 seconds remaining, Brandon Young brought the ball up the court. The play was taking long, until Louisville tried to trap Young at the top of the key and he found McKinney wide open for the game-tying layup that sent it to overtime.
The extra session did not go DePaul's way with costly turnovers dooming them. The referees, at least in the eyes of Purnell, could have done their part in overtime and the rest of the game.
"I feel like our guys deserve respect from the officials too. They really do, and I'll just leave it at that."
DePaul will head to New York to take on St. John's Feb. 20, and Purnell feels that they are not too far off from their third Big East win of the season.
"If we take that style of play on to the next game and down the stretch [of the season] then we're going to win some games."