Melvin Leads DePaul Past Pesky Chicago State
Dec. 10, 2011
ROSEMONT, Ill. - There was no mistaking the tone of disappointment in Oliver Purnell's voice on Saturday.
The DePaul coach was a little unhappy after the Blue Demons' 102-95 victory over winless Chicago State at Allstate Arena.
"I'm not real pleased with our performance at all," Purnell said. "Our guys came out with decent energy on offense but it faded quickly. Our defensive energy was not very good.
"We work so hard on the scouting report and it was like we threw it out the window."
DePaul (6-3) took a 98-87 lead with just under two minutes left in the game on a Jeremiah Kelly three-pointer. Kelly was 5-for-9 from beyond the arc, and his 124 career threes is now seventh all-time as he passed up Tom Kleinschmidt (120) and Bobby Simmons (121) on Saturday.
But Chicago State (0-9) went on an 8-2 run in coming within 100-95 with 14 seconds to go. Cleveland Melvin scored inside to finish with a career-high 30 points.
"It felt great," said Melvin who added a team-high eight rebounds. "Now I've got to move on to the next game, get on with our nonconference season and get ready for the BIG EAST Conference."
A 9-4 DePaul surge early in the second half provided a 68-57 lead. The Cougars had closed to 68-62 when Moses Morgan and Brandon Young hit back-to-back three-pointers and Young followed with layup for a 76-64 lead with 12:06 to go.
Morgan drained another three-pointer and Crockett followed up with a steal and dunk as the Blue Demons went ahead 84-70 with 8:07 left in the game.
But led by Matt Samuels (20 points), Lee Fisher (19 points, eight rebounds), Jeremy Robinson (17 points) and Clarke Rosenberg (14 points, 10 rebounds), Chicago State hung around.
"We got up by 17 points in the first half and it was like a stop sign went up for our defensive effort," Purnell said. "The stop sign went up in the second half and it was like---Chicago State, would you please leave and let us finish it off.
"They had other ideas and made a game of it."
After scoring just one point in the first half, Young came alive with 20 points in the second half and also finished with a team-high seven assists.
"Coach (Purnell) told me I was playing soft," Young said about his halftime motivation. "It was time for me to pick it up and not let my teammates see me like that.
"I started to get after it on defense and started being a leader for the team."
It appeared the Blue Demons were headed to another big halftime lead when a pair of Krys Faber free throws with less than eight minutes to go provided a 40-23 advantage. It also capped off a 17-6 DePaul run.
But led by Fisher and Rosenberg, Chicago State got back into the game by outscoring the Blue Demons 24-9. Charles McKinney's runner in the lane gave DePaul a 51-47 lead at halftime.
Allowing the Cougars to hang close gave the far South Side school hopes of winning their first game of the season. Melvin had 19 points in the first 20 minutes and Kelly had 11. Fisher had 15 points by halftime.
Purnell has some ideas to have his team ready for its 8 p.m. game Wednesday at Northern Illinois.
"Keep hitting that rock and have some tough practices between here and Northern Illinois," Purnell said. "I would think that Krys Faber and Jeremiah Kelly (19 points, four assists, three steals) being seniors would lead in that area.
"We'll lean heavily on Brandon to grow up and be the point guard we know he can be."