DePaul Derails Loyola in Rogers Park
Dec. 7, 2011
CHICAGO – After compiling a 30-point lead at halftime, the DePaul Blue Demons held off second-half surge by Loyola-Chicago to take a 69-58 road victory against the Ramblers. The win snaps a two-game skid for DePaul and pushes its record to 5-3 on the year.
Looking to avoid an early deficit, DePaul came out on fire to start the game. The Blue Demons went on a 12-2 run to open it up and set the tone against the Ramblers.
After a Loyola timeout, the home team got four back to make it 12-6 but DePaul responded with a 14-2 run to build a daunting 26-8 lead. The Ramblers, playing their second-ever game inside the new Gentile Center, were held without a field goal for over five minutes in the half before Walt Gibler managed a layup at the 11:08 mark to put Loyola in double-figures.
DePaul did not relent as senior Jeremiah Kelly put up his first three of the night to extend the Blue Demon lead to 19 points at 29-10. Following a made free-throw by Gibler, Melvin added a tip-in and Kelly knocked down his second three-pointer to put DePaul out in front 34-11. The 23-point lead became the Blue Demons’ largest favorable margin of the season, surpassing a lead of 22 points over UT-Pan American on Nov. 11. Kelly’s second three was also the 119th of his career, tying him with Joe Tully for ninth on DePaul’s all-time list.
Loyola followed with a layup and two more free throws but DePaul continued to tack on points during the run. The Blue Demons upped their lead to 28 points with 2:30 remaining in the half when sophomore Edwind McGhee—who added his first points of the season on the Blue Demons’ previous possession—put back a resounding slam dunk.
Two made free throws by DePaul’s Worrel Clahar in the waning moments of the half made it 47-17 and sent the Blue Demons into the break with 30-point lead. The 17 points allowed in the half are the fewest allowed by the Blue Demons in any half since Oliver Purnell took over as head coach. They had previously given up a stingy 22 in the second half last season at home against Milwaukee on Dec. 14, 2010.
The second half appeared as though it would pick up as the first left off when freshman Jamee Crockett, who made his first career start for the Blue Demons at tip-off, opened it up with a bucket to extend the DePaul lead to 49-17.
After Loyola’s Ben Averkamp connected on his first jumper of the game, Crockett responded with a three-pointer to push DePaul ahead 52-19. Crockett, who tallied his first double-digit output in DePaul’s previous matchup against Milwaukee, finished the cross-town matchup with a career-high 11 points.
Led by their senior Gibler, the Ramblers would not go quietly. Following Crockett’s three, Loyola rattled off 17 straight points—including six from Gibler—to cut the DePaul lead to just 16 at 52-36. DePaul’s Moses Morgan halted the Blue Demons’ scoreless drought with a point from the free throw line, but the duo of Gibler and Averkamp continued to answer back.
With 5:52 left in regulation, the Ramblers shrunk their deficit to 12 points at 57-45. The Blue Demons used their trips to the line to regain points on the board. Krys Faber knocked down 5-of-6 free throws in just over a minute’s span to stifle some of the Loyola momentum. After adding a dunk with just over three minutes left, the 6-10 senior drove home a layup to allow the Blue Demons some breathing room.
With just 28 seconds remaining, the Ramblers brought it to within nine points at 67-58, but two free throws by Faber sealed it for DePaul as it left Rogers Park with a 69-58 victory.
DePaul returns to Allstate Arena on Saturday afternoon to face Chicago State. Start time in Rosemont is scheduled for 1 p.m.