Blue Demons Survive Late Scare From Chicago State, Win 77-70 in OT
Cleveland Melvin recorded his 16th career double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds on Sunday.

Dec. 15, 2013

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ROSEMONT, Ill. - Billy Garrett Jr. played the role of closer on Sunday afternoon, and the freshman point guard came through with a clutch performance.

Garrett scored eight of his team's first 10 points in overtime and led DePaul to a 77-70 victory over Chicago State at Allstate Arena.

The multi-talented playmaker came to Lincoln Park with a well-deserved reputation of playing his best basketball in the biggest moments after leading Morgan Park to a state title last season.

On Sunday, Garrett maintained his poise and made sure the Blue Demons did not come up empty in its first overtime win since a 68-66 victory over Detroit on Nov. 28, 2009.

"I try to be a leader out there and make sure the guys are where they are supposed to be," said Garrett who finished with a season-high 17 points and added five rebounds and four steals. "I've been around the game so long, and it's my personality to stay calm.

"I struggled a little late in the second half, and my teammates encouraged me to stay focused."

Charles McKinney opened overtime with a steal and layup. Then Garrett hit a huge three-point shot, grabbed a critical rebound and converted a foul shot for a 68-62 lead.

After a Clarke Rosenberg basket, Garrett drilled two more free throws with 1 minute, 47 seconds left in overtime for a 70-64 advantage. Thirty-six seconds later, Garrett buried another pair of foul shots.

"On that steal, Chicago State had run the same play several times," said McKinney who had eight points, four assists and three steals. "Cleve (Cleveland Melvin) and I were supposed to switch defensively, but we didn't.

"Once I got the steal, I wasn't stopping."

There was no stopping Melvin on this day as the senior forward recorded a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds. He also contributed four blocks and three steals. Fellow senior Brandon Young came away with 14 points and five assists.

In regulation time, this one went down to the final four minutes. Young hit a long jumper with 1:48 left to give DePaul (6-4) a 61-59 lead.

Back came Corey Gray with a corner three-pointer and Chicago State (4-6) went ahead 62-61 with 1:21 on the clock. Young went to the free throw line with 51.4 to go and hit one of two. Young had a driving attempt in the final seconds that missed and resulted in overtime.

"Give Chicago State all the credit in the world," said DePaul coach Oliver Purnell. "They came in here with a recipe for an upset on the road---take some blows, hang in there, wait for the home team to let up in the second half and make your move.

"I didn't think we came ready to play, and four turnovers in the first five minutes indicates that. When we did get inside, we didn't finish with strength at any part of the game. We didn't extend our lead in the second half and relaxed a bit on the offensive end."

A sharp pass from Young to McKinney cutting under the basket led to an easy layup. Tommy Hamilton IV (eight points, 10 rebounds, four blocks) scored in the paint and DePaul led 44-36 early in the second half.

Hamilton's score was part of a 10-2 run highlighted by a pair of Melvin dunks and four points from McKinney that pushed the Blue Demon advantage to 50-38. The lead fluctuated between nine and 11 points into the middle of the second half.

Quinton Pippen's deep three-pointer cut the margin to 58-51 with more than seven minutes left in the regulation time. Nate Duhon's steal and layup made it a five-point game. A Duhon foul shot left the Cougars down 58-54. Pippen led Chicago State with 18 points and Rosenberg added 17.

A pair of Pippen free throws extended the Cougar run to 11-2. Matt Ross hit a big three that pushed the run to 14-2 and gave Chicago State a 59-58 lead with 5:06 left.

DePaul responded with a technical free throw by Young to tie it up 59-59.

It was Garrett and McKinney who led the way in the extra period.

"Billy was a little tentative down the stretch in regulation time," Purnell said. "He relaxed and went back to being himself in overtime. He was willing to take the big shot and take it to the basket.

"Charles is quick and arguably our best defender when he accepts the role. He helps us with a lot of energy."

Down by eight in the middle of the first half, DePaul went on a 14-0 run beginning with Hamilton scoring twice down low and Durrell McDonald swishing back-to-back threes.

Garrett followed with a pair of free throws and then came a McKinney steal and lob pass to Melvin for a slam. The Blue Demon burst was ignited when Purnell unleashed a full-court press.

A Rosenberg three-pointer brought Chicago State within 29-26 when a technical foul on Pippen resulted in a pair of Melvin free throws. Duhon retaliated for the Cougars.

Melvin came back with a three-point play and the teams traded off points until the halftime horn with the Blue Demons on top 38-32.

DePaul finishes off a five-game home stand with an 8 p.m. tipoff Wednesday against Houston Baptist.

Notes: The Blue Demons improved to 12-0 all-time in the series against Chicago State and 18-1 against the current alignment of the WAC... DePaul played its first overtime game since Feb. 13, 2013 at Notre Dame... DePaul won its first overtime contest since a 68-66 win on Nov. 28, 2009 vs. Detroit, snapping an eight-game losing streak in overtime games... it was the Blue Demons' first OT win in the Oliver Purnell era... the Blue Demons committed 23 turnovers, the team's most since giving away 24 at UIC on Nov. 22, 2008... McDonald tied a career-high with two made three-pointers... McKinney tied a career-high with four assists... Hamilton set a career-high with four blocks and finished with 10 rebounds for the second time in his career... Garrett set a career-high with four steals... in his 100th career game, Melvin passed Dallas Comegys (1,613 pts., 1983-87) for seventh all-time on DePaul's career scoring list (1,624 points)... Melvin finished in double figures for the 83rd time in his career and set a season-high with three steals... Melvin tied a season-high with three blocks... Mevin's double-double was the 16th of his career... with five assists, Young passed Terence Greene (449 assists, 1985-89) for fourth all-time in assists (450).



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