PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) — Oliver Purnell felt DePaul didn't win any style points, but still produced a thing of beauty in the coach's eyes.
"It wasn't pretty," Purnell said of the Blue Demons' 69-64 win over Rutgers Wednesday night. "But I didn't say it wasn't beautiful for us. That's what we needed.
"You can ask yourself what your issue is, what your problem is, and what we needed most was a win for our confidence."
DePaul got what it needed thanks to freshman Jamee Crockett, who scored 17 of his career-high 20 points in the second half to help the Demons rally from an 11-point deficit and snap a five-game losing streak.
Crockett had 15 3-pointers this season and had not attempted more than five in a game, but went 5 of 5 from behind the arc in the second half.
"I got extra shots in this week, and it paid off on the court," Crockett said. "Practice makes perfect.
"One play was developed for me, but most of it was just (done) within our offense. Our guards did a good job giving me the ball, and I did good job knocking shots down."
Cleveland Melvin had 14 points and hit a late go-ahead lay-up for the Blue Demons (11-9, 2-6 Big East), while Brandon Young had 11 points and seven assists.
With it tied 62-62, Young drove and dished to Melvin, who converted with 1:46 remaining to start DePaul on a 7-0 run.
The Scarlet Knights (11-10, 3-5), who have dropped three of their last four, got 22 points from Myles Mack and 14 from Jerome Seagears.
Rutgers took the game's biggest lead at 50-39 with 10:21 remaining before Crockett hit the first of four straight 3-point attempts to start the comeback. He was 5 of 5 on 3-pointers in the second half.
"I think they ignited us and gave us some adrenaline on the other end of the floor," said Purnell, whose team had lost four straight to Rutgers. "We did a good job of guarding most of the night, we were really stopping penetration.
"But I thought (the 3-pointers) ignited us as they obviously helped get us down one, and then we had a couple penetration baskets. Brendan had a driving layup. Jamee had a few 3's. That's as good an offense as I can draw up."
After Melvin put DePaul ahead, the Blue Demons made 5 of 6 from the foul line to put the game away with 13 seconds remaining.
With Rutgers leading 52-42, DePaul held the Scarlet Knights scoreless for nearly four minutes to get back in it. There were three lead changes and two ties in the final 4:49 and 12 lead changes and nine ties in the game.
The Demons held Eli Carter, Rutgers' leading scorer, to half his average at seven points.
"DePaul never went away," Rutgers coach Mike Rice said. "Our guys were surprised apparently when DePaul came back and continued to play hard and execute.
"When they made a couple shots it was like our guys got sad and wanted to go away instead of wanting to fight back and fight through it. It was a very disappointing last eight minutes of the game."
In a low-scoring first half, which is routine for both teams, Rutgers used a 7-0 run in the final 3 minutes to take a 29-24 lead.
It was the lowest scoring first half of the year for the Blue Demons and the seventh time they were held under 30 before halftime. It marked the ninth time this season Rutgers failed to score 30 by intermission.
Crockett turned things around with his second-half explosion.
"We needed this real bad," the forward said. "This will give us a lot of spark going into practice the next couple of days."