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Melvin's 18 Not Enough as Blue Demons Fall at Allstate
Moses Morgan extended the Blue Demons' streak of consecutive games with a three-pointer to 581 on Thursday

Moses Morgan extended the Blue Demons' streak of consecutive games with a three-pointer to 581 on Thursday

Nov. 15, 2012

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ROSEMONT, Ill. – If only DePaul had played with the same fire and intensity that its coach Oliver Purnell displayed at Thursday night’s post-game press conference.

“Clearly, we didn’t show up tonight,” Purnell said after the Blue Demons were knocked off by Gardner-Webb 71-59 in a first-round game of the Cancun Challenge which culminates next week in that vacation destination on the eastern tip of Mexico.

“You have got to be tougher and take more pride. We wanted to score a few baskets, yell and scream, watch the other team fall down and we win.

“I saw smiles on some of our guys’ faces during the game. We needed some leadership and nobody stepped up. That also goes for me. I was searching for the right combination and I clearly didn’t find one.”

This was supposed to be a follow-up to DePaul’s 32-point victory over UC Riverside last week in the season opener.

Instead, DePaul (1-1) played sluggishly, unable to put together a sustained run or generate a consistent offense until the last three minutes of the game.

Gardner-Webb (2-2) took full advantage, patiently working to set up good shots in its half-court offense. A Jarvis Davis three-point shot culminated a 21-11 run as the Runnin’ Bulldogs led 65-46 towards the end of the second half.

That’s when the Blue Demons finally began to resemble themselves, going on an 11-2 run

 “We finally showed some energy,” Purnell said. “But anybody can win a three-minute game. For 37 minutes, we got outplayed tonight.

“They deserved to win. Gardner-Webb played last night, had to travel today and they still got the job done.”

Gardner-Webb of the Big South Conference stretched a 34-24 halftime lead to 49-35 early in the second half after a Max Landis three-point shot. A Durrell McDonald turnover led to a Donta Harper dunk as the Runnin’ Bulldogs took a 53-37 lead with 12:58 left in the second half. 

A combination of subpar play by DePaul and some clutch shooting from Gardner-Webb prevented the home team from cutting into the deficit. The Blue Demons trailed by 18 midway through the second half.

Landis led the Bulldogs with 20 points and Kevin Hartley had 16 points and 12 rebounds.

“We played poorly as a team and didn’t have any energy,” said Cleveland Melvin who led DePaul with 18 points and eight rebounds. “We didn’t play any defense and didn’t rebound. The way we played at the end---we should have played that way from the start.

“We can’t have this ever again.”

DePaul made just two of 13 shots from three-point range and were outrebounded 44-31---18-9 on the offensive boards---by a smaller team.

"It isn’t often, but we were the dominant team in terms of size and strength,” Purnell said. “We didn’t take advantage of it.

“At the start of the second half, we were going to the basket and scoring. But at the other end, they came down and scored like they were going through water.

“How do you respond to it? Most of it is between the ears. Guys have to look in the mirror.”

The Blue Demons hope to come out with a lot more intensity on Saturday when they take on Austin Peay at 1 p.m. at Allstate Arena in the second game of the Cancun Challenge.

Postgame Notes
- DePaul extended its streak of consecutive games with a three-pointer to 581... the Blue Demons didn't make their first three until just under 13 minutes left in the second half... the last time the Blue Demons failed to hit from beyond the arc was Feb. 16, 1993 against UAB at Allstate Arena.

- Cleveland Melvin finished in double-figures for the 50th time in 60 career games... he has scored in double figures in 16 straight games going back to the 2011-12 season.

- Brandon Young scored 10 points to reach double-figures for the 46th time in his Blue Demon career.

- DePaul was held under 60 points for the first time since February 15, 2012 at Connecticut... the last time the Blue Demons failed to reach 60 points in a non-conference game was December 8, 2010 against Indiana State.