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DePaul Uses Late Surge to Hold Off Wright State, 81-72
Cleveland Melvin put up 16 of his game-high 23 points in the second half to help DePaul to a 2-1 start.

Cleveland Melvin put up 16 of his game-high 23 points in the second half to help DePaul to a 2-1 start.

Nov. 16, 2013

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CHICAGO – DePaul closed the game on a dominant 20-4 run covering 7:42 to hold off a pesky Wright State team, 81-72, on Saturday at Allstate Arena in its second game of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic.

Four Blue Demons finished in double figures scoring led by Cleveland Melvin’s first double-double effort of the season. The senior forward closed strong, scoring 16 of his game-high 23 points in the second half and adding 13 rebounds for the 15th double-double of his career.

Senior guard Brandon Young supplemented the offense with 14 points, while first-year big man Tommy Hamilton IV chipped in with 13 points and five boards. Freshman guard Billy Garrett Jr. added 12 points, knocking down 7-of-9 from the free throw line, in his most productive game yet.  

As a team, the Blue Demons (2-1) knocked down 28-of-36 at the free throw line. Wright State fell to 1-2 overall despite getting double figure scoring from four different players.

After 15 turnovers hindered the Blue Demons in the opening half, the team took care of the ball better in the back half and stormed to a 48-point frame – turning a 35-33 deficit at the break into a nine-point win.

The Raiders began the first 1:48 with an 8-0 run, putting the Blue Demons on their heels. DePaul would recover with an 8-0 run of its own, however, tying the game at 14:09 on a three by Melvin.

The Blue Demons then grabbed their first lead of the game 10 minutes in, 14-13, on a put back by Sandi Marcius.

Wright State controlled the lead until just before the break when a pair of free throws by Durrell McDonald got DePaul back within one, 28-27.

The Raiders continued to cling to the lead, however, until two Jamee Crockett threes within a minute of each other gave DePaul the lead, 33-32, going into a timeout with 27 seconds left in the half.

Coming out of the half behind by two, DePaul trailed by as many as nine before tying the game at 52-52 on a pair of free throws by Melvin.

The Blue Demons trailed by seven with eight minutes to play in the game before turning up the defensive pressure and going on a 10-2 run – as part of a 20-4 run – to reclaim the lead on a Young jumper at the 4:16 mark.

A layup by Young made it 71-68, and DePaul would stretch its lead to a six at 76-70 on a freebie by Hamilton. Melvin then added the exclamation point with a breakaway dunk in the last 30 seconds to solidify the final score at 81-72.

DePaul is back in action next at Milwaukee on Tuesday, Nov. 19 at 7:00 p.m. CT.

Notes: Melvin moved past Sammy Mejia (1,494 points) for ninth-place all-time on the DePaul scoring list and finished the game with 1,513 career points... it was his 15th career double-double and 26th game with 20 points or more... Melvin also passed Mejia for 26th all-time on the school’s rebound chart... DePaul improved to 68-19 all-time against the Horizon League... today’s game was the first meeting between Wright State and DePaul... DePaul made its most free throws (28) since knocking down 32 on Dec. 2, 2010 vs. Northern Illinois... the Blue Demons improved to 17-3 under Oliver Purnell when scoring 80-plus points.