Blue Demons Roll in DeKalb
Dec. 14, 2011
DeKALB, Ill. (AP) - An emphasis on defensive pressure had a big second-half payoff as DePaul sprinted past Northern Illinois for a 75-52 victory Wednesday night.
"Our pressure defense could not have been better in the second half," Blue Demons coach Oliver Purnell said. "(That) led to a lot of easy buckets and got us going offensively, and we started to make some shots and execute better."
Cleveland Melvin led a balanced attack with 19 points as DePaul used its dominant second half to top the Huskies for the second straight year.
Tim Toler led the Huskies (0-9) with 18 points and 13 rebounds.
DePaul struggled to gain traction before putting together a 10-4 surge to open a 28-25 halftime lead. But the Blue Demons launched a decisive run in the second half. Five players scored as DePaul turned a 33-32 deficit into a 49-33 lead with 13:48 to go.
Northern Illinois' 18 turnovers led to 25 DePaul points, including 16 in the second half.
"DePaul had a good press," first-year Northern Illinois coach Mark Montgomery said. "We just didn't meet the ball. We were just trying to run before we had it, and that leads to turnovers."
The Blue Demons closed the game with a 14-4 run, including six straight points by Melvin.
The victory allowed DePaul to match its total for the 2010-11 season.
The Blue Demons outrebounded the Huskies 39-33 and had a significant shooting edge. DePaul shot 27 of 57 from the field (47 percent), while Northern Illinois was just 16 of 55 (29 percent).
"The real positive was that we were in a tight game on the road, and to watch our team react to it, that was nice," Purnell said. "I would have liked to have played better in the first half and rebounded better."
DePaul leads the series 24-6 and beat Northern Illinois 86-84 last year. The Huskies last won in 2005, a 77-68 decision in DeKalb.
The Blue Demons meet Arkansas-Pine Bluff at 7 p.m. Saturday at McGrath-Phillips Arena, then take on Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo on Wednesday night at Allstate Arena. They kick off Big East action Jan. 1 at home against top-ranked Syracuse.