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DePaul loses to Pittsburgh 81-66

Updated: March 9, 2013 5:07PM

DePaul already knew it would be seeded last in the Big East Tournament this week even before its 81-66 loss to No. 20 Pittsburgh Saturday at Allstate Arena, ending the regular season.

It left the Blue Demons (11-20, 2-16) with a meager 7-83 Big East record in the last five years as it exits the league for a new formation of nine teams next season.

This season’s Demons had one fewer conference victory than last season—when their three victories were the most since six in 2007-08.

Those numbers are not good for coach Oliver Purnell, completing his third year of a seven-year contract at DePaul.

But director of athletics Jean Lenti Ponsetto has said Purnell’s job status remains secure for now.

“We knew it would take until years three and four to rebuild and that is why it was a seven-year contract,’’ she said.

The game did mean history for Demon junior guard Brandon Young, who became the first player in program history with at least 1,200 points, 400 assists and 100 three-point baskets. He led the Demons with 22 points.

DePaul stayed close to the Panthers (24-7, 12-6) through the first half before a closing run before intermission gave the Panthers a 46-35 halftime lead.

The game was the last for senior Worrel Clahar, who equaled his career high 19 points before fouling out with 2 minutes left.

Senior walk-on Stuart Pirri started the game and played briefly as is customary.

Pittsburgh shot 71 percent for the game (33-46), the percentage boosted by break-away dunks, 32 points in the paint and 64 percent from three-point range (9-14).

DePaul shot 44 percent for the game (20-45).

The Demons will begin Big East tournament play on Tuesday in New York against No. 11 seed Rutgers—the team they defeated on Feb. 16 at home to end a nine-game losing streak and also their last victory.

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