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Worrel Clahar helps DePaul end 9-game losing streak

DePaul guard Worrel Clahar shooting over Rutgers swingman Malick Kone had 19 points came through clutch. | Charles Rex Arbogast~AP

DePaul guard Worrel Clahar, shooting over Rutgers swingman Malick Kone, had 19 points and came through in the clutch. | Charles Rex Arbogast~AP

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Updated: March 18, 2013 7:07AM

Winless the last several weeks, DePaul has had to find solace in moral victories.

But after squandering chances to win late, the Blue Demons have realized that playing well and making big plays can be mutually exclusive.

On Saturday against Rutgers at Allstate Arena, DePaul finally put the two together in a 75-69 victory. In only his fourth start this season, Worrel Clahar led DePaul with a career-high 19 points and made clutch plays on both ends of the floor.

The win breaks a nine-game skid for the Demons, who have gone to overtime in three of their last five games.

“There comes a time when you’ve got to make plays down the stretch to get it done,” DePaul coach Oliver Purnell said. “In two of those [overtime] games, we had shots to win in regulation. That’s making a play. We didn’t do that.

“It’s just so affirming for our guys to get that win as opposed to an overtime loss or a close loss, even though we’re playing better.”

DePaul was in control for most of the first half before a 10-5 Rutgers run tied the game at 32 at halftime.

The Demons took a 10-point lead midway through the second half, but that was single-handedly erased by Rutgers guard Myles Mack, who scored 16 consecutive points for the Scarlet Knights in an 18-6 run that gave Rutgers a two-point lead with 2:42 left.

With his team desperate for a big play, Clahar answered the call.

Clahar made a layup to tie the game at 66. Just 42 seconds later with DePaul up by one, the 5-11 senior grabbed a defensive rebound, took the ball all the way to the basket, was fouled and completed a three-point play to give the Demons a four-point lead.

Then with 35 seconds left and the Demons looking to run time off the clock, Clahar skied to grab an offensive rebound that sealed the game for DePaul.

“It’s not about size, just determination,” Clahar said. “I wanted to get the rebound. I knew it was key for the team. So me being a senior leader, I had to do what I had to do.”

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