Big First Half Leads DePaul to 98-67 Win Over Austin Peay
Nov. 17, 2012
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.
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