NEW YORK — DePaul won only two Big East games all season, but one of them came against Rutgers, making an upset possible for the 14th-seeded Blue Demons in Tuesday's Big East tournament opening round.
But the 11th-seeded Scarlet Knights (15-15) avenged that defeat, making nine straight shots during an 18-6 second-half run and holding on for a 76-57 victory at Madison Square Garden.
Rutgers advances to face sixth-seeded Notre Dame tonight at 9. The Scarlet Knights gave the Fighting Irish a scare in their regular-season meeting, losing just 69-66 in South Bend.
DePaul (11-21) trailed 34-33 early in the second half when Rutgers hit nine shots in a row, including four by forward Wally Judge, who opened the game 9-for-9 from the field. That gave Rutgers a 52-39 lead, and DePaul wouldn't get closer than eight points the rest of the way.
Judge matched a Big East tournament record with his 9-for-9 performance. Boston College's Craig Smith did so against West Virginia in 2005, and Villanova's Ricky Wright went 9-for-9 against Boston College in 2001. Judge's 20 points (to go with 10 rebounds) edged guard Myles Mack (19) for the team high.
Rutgers, which shot 60.4 percent as a team, dominated in rebounding, getting 34 overall to 20 for DePaul, which dropped to 1-6 all-time in Big East tournament games. The Blue Demons got 25 points from forward Cleveland Melvin and 15 from guard Brandon Young.
Rutgers opened Big East play with a 3-3 mark, then dropped 11 of 12 games before beating Seton Hall on Friday night. The Scarlet Knights will try tonight to win multiple games in a Big East tournament for just the second time in their history; they did so in 1998 but haven't won more than one since.