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Big First Half Leads DePaul to 98-67 Win Over Austin Peay
Cleveland Melvin scored a season-high 26 and added eight rebounds to lead DePaul on Saturday


Cleveland Melvin scored a season-high 26 and added eight rebounds to lead DePaul on Saturday

Nov. 17, 2012

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ROSEMONT, Ill. – It was like night and day for DePaul on Saturday.

The Blue Demons played with passion and fire in a 98-67 victory over Austin Peay at Allstate Arena in the second round of the Cancun Challenge.

This came less than 48 hours after a disappointing and lackluster performance in last Thursday’s loss to Gardner-Webb.

“That one is on me,” said Brandon Young who finished with 17 points, five rebounds and five assists on Saturday. “I’ll take the blame on myself. I have to be the one to lead my team and make sure everyone plays hard for 40 minutes.

“We have to come out with a lot of energy, and we can’t take any plays off. I told the guys that we’re brothers out there and that we’re not going to lose anymore.”

Everything that went wrong two days earlier went right on Saturday.

The DePaul pressure defense had the Governors dazed and confused as Austin Peay (1-2) committed 18 turnovers in the first half alone that led to 31 Blue Demon points. The visiting team wound up with 27 turnovers resulting in 42 points for DePaul.

After scoring just 24 points in the first half on Thursday including one basket in the first four minutes, DePaul (2-1) blew out to a 58-30 halftime lead on Saturday.

Cleveland Melvin (26 points, eight rebounds, four steals) sparked a 10-0 run early in the second half that gave DePaul a 70-36 lead.

“I told our players that everybody didn’t show up the other night and they had a chance to atone for it,” said DePaul coach Oliver Purnell. “As long as you bounce back from it, what happened on Thursday can be a good thing by learning from it.

“We had a hard edge and focus today, and our pressure defense (16 steals) was outstanding.”

Inserting Charles McKinney into the starting lineup for Moses Morgan seemed to provide an energy that was missing two days earlier. It allowed Purnell to bring Morgan in off the bench as an offensive spark.

“Moving Moses around causes matchup problems for the other team,” Purnell said as Morgan came through with 15 points. “He played within himself and did a better job defensively.”

Purnell had his players open with their most intense press, further safeguarding against another sluggish start. It paid off as the Blue Demons went on a game-defining 29-7 run in building a 39-16 lead with more than seven minutes to go in the first half.

The DePaul coach saw the leadership void on Thursday night filled by Young, Melvin and Morgan.

“Moses embraced his role and did a good job being loud on the bench and being heard on the floor,” Purnell said. “Brandon was outstanding and played great.

“Cleve rushed his shot early in the game but settled down and allowed the offense to come to him. He got on the offensive glass. To me, Cleve is not a shooter so much as he is a scorer.”

The Blue Demons continue the Cancun Challenge with a 6 p.m. game on Tuesday against NCAA tournament qualifier Wichita State in Cancun.

Team Records and Series Notes
• DePaul improves to 2-1 overall on the season. Austin Peay is now 1-3 overall.
• Today’s game was the first meeting between the two schools. DePaul now has a 1-0 series lead.
• Head coach Oliver Purnell improved to 2-0 in his career versus Austin Peay. The last time Purnell faced the Governors he was head coach at the University of Dayton, winning a 76-61 game on Dec. 18, 2001.
• Purnell, in his 25th season as a head coach, is now 415-323 all-time. In his third season at DePaul, Purnell improves to 21-44.
• DePaul improved to 14-1 all-time against current members of the Ohio Valley Conference.
• In their 33rd season in Rosemont, the Blue Demons are now 312-142 all-time (.687).

DePaul Team Notes
• Key Runs: DePaul opened the game with eight straight points, holding Austin Peay scoreless until two minutes, 43 seconds into the game when Travis Betran hit a three-pointer.
Austin Peay was within three, 14-11, when the Blue Demons surged ahead 32-13 fueled by an 18-2 run spanning 3:51. DePaul would eventually open up a 30-point lead, 58-28, with 1:23 to go in the half.
• Key Stats: The Blue Demons out-rebounded Austin Peay 42-36, improving to 2-0 when out-rebounding their opponent this season. The Blue Demons also had a 42-19 advantage in points off turnovers, while the bench out-scored the Governor bench 44-20.
• DePaul extended its streak of consecutive games with a three-pointer to 582... Moses Morgan hit the Blue Demons first triple from the top of the key with 13:12 remaining in the first half... the last time the Blue Demons failed to hit from beyond the arc was Feb. 16, 1993 against UAB at Allstate Arena.
• After scoring just 24 points in the first half against Gardner-Webb on Thursday, the Blue Demons exploded out of the gates, equaling that number at the 10:44 mark of the first half today. DePaul finished the half with 58 points, their most first half points since scoring 59 on November 14, 2010 versus Chicago State at Allstate Arena.
• After a season-opening 32-point win versus UC Riverside, the 98-67 win over Austin Peay was the Blue Demons’ third 30-plus point margin of victory in the Oliver Purnell era. DePaul’s biggest win under Purnell came on Nov. 14, 2010 in a 114-81 win over Chicago State.

DePaul Individual Notes
• Forward Cleveland Melvin finished in double figures for the 51st time in 61 career games. He has scored in double figures in 17 straight games going back to the 2011-12 season. Melvin reached double figures early, notching 13 points in the first half alone. His 26 points were a season-high.
• Young also finished in double figures for the 47th time in his Blue Demon career. He has a current streak of seven games in a row with 10 or more points. Young also reached double figures early, finishing the first half with 16.
• Guard Brandon Young moved into 21st place all-time in career assists. He needed just one entering the game to break a tie at 269 assists with Jermaine Watts (1994-98). Young now has 274 career assists and needs five more assists to catch Joe Daughrity (1992-94) in 20th place.
•Jamee Crockett (3) and Durrell McDonald (2) both tied career-highs for steals in the first half alone. Crockett finished the game with a career-high four steals, McDonald finished with two.
Moses Morgan finished with a season-high 15 points. His four three-pointers were one short of his career high.
Peter Ryckbosch scored his first career basket with 1:49 to play in the game.