Blue Demons Drop Game to Loyola
Dec. 29, 2012
ROSEMONT, Ill. – Nothing went right for DePaul on Saturday in its North Side rivalry game against Loyola.
Missed free throws, subpar rebounding and the inability to sustain an offense resulted in a 69-61 loss to Loyola at Allstate Arena.
That snapped DePaul’s seven-game winning streak in the Blue Demons’ final game of the nonconference season.
Cully Payne led all scorers with 24 points and came up big for Loyola (9-3) down the stretch. He hit seven of his 10 shots and was 7-for-7 from the free throw line.
“I’m going to give it to him,” DePaul point guard Worrell Clahar said about his Rambler counterpart. “He got the best of us today. He just broke us down, and when he got a line to the basket, he would just pick us apart.”
DePaul coach Oliver Purnell agreed with Clahar’s assessment.
“Their point guard did a really nice job,” Purnell said. “Cully Payne controlled the game, attacked us by driving the ball and got other players involved. He hit some big shots and went to the free throw line and converted.
“He was the key to everything they did.”
Trailing by 12 points with six minutes, 20 seconds left, DePaul (9-4) began whittling away at the Loyola lead. A 6-0 burst cut the deficit to 59-53 with three minutes to go.
Clahar (10 points, five rebounds) and Payne exchanged tough baskets down low. Payne’s two free throws put Loyola up 63-55 with less than two minutes left. Payne followed that up with a three-point shot.
“We just couldn’t make free throws today,” said Brandon Young who led DePaul with 18 points but also contributed to the team’s 11-for-20 showing at the line. “Loyola came out playing harder than us, the defense wasn’t there and we didn’t attack like we usually do.”
Seldom in recent memory have both the Blue Demons and Ramblers come into this game with such momentum. DePaul was riding a seven-game winning streak while Loyola had won six of its last seven.
The closeness of this rivalry game reflected the nonconference success of both teams. Coming out of a tie at halftime, they exchanged leads early in the second half.
Loyola went ahead 45-41 on a Devon Turk three-pointer that barely beat the shot clock. After DePaul drew to within 45-44, two Rambler foul shots made it 47-44 midway through the second half.
Payne’s three-pointer with 8:11 left gave Loyola a 52-46 advantage. Christian Thomas’ 17-foot jumper made it an eight-point game. Jordan Hicks hit a three as the Ramblers went on a 14-3 run in securing a 59-47 lead.
“This was a disappointing loss for us,” Purnell said. “We had a chance in the first half to get something going and we let up off the gas.
“They came for a basketball fight and we weren’t as mentally tough as we should have been. We made too many errors down the stretch like the free throw lane violation and turning the ball over in front of our bench.”
A pair of Jamee Crockett three-pointers staked DePaul to an early six-point lead. After Loyola came within two, the Blue Demons went on a 7-0 spurt for a 21-12 lead in the middle of the first half.
A 10-3 Rambler run towards the end of the first half evened the score at 26-26. Clahar’s tough shot inside regained the lead for DePaul. Young’s jumper put the home team ahead 33-31, but a Christian Thomas put-back tied the game up 33-33 at halftime.
“We obviously have some work to do in a couple of different areas,” Purnell said. “There’s no better way to redeem yourself than get back on your home court and win the first BIG EAST Conference game.”
DePaul opens the league season at 8 p.m. Wednesday against Seton Hall at Allstate Arena.
Team Records and Series Notes:
• DePaul drops to 9-4 overall on the season... Loyola’ s record improves to 9-3.
• The game was the 56th meeting between the two programs... DePaul leads the series by a 38-18 margin... today’s win for Loyola ends an 11-game winning streak in the series for the Blue Demons... Loyola’s last win over DePaul was a 70-69 decision on Jan. 21, 1989.
• DePaul is 105-37 all-time against the current lineup of Horizon League programs.
DePaul Team Notes:
• DePaul’s win streak ended at seven games... it is the longest streak since a nine-game run from Dec. 7, 1993-Jan. 8, 1994.
• DePaul’s streak of wins against Chicagoland opponents ended at nine in-a-row... DePaul head coach Oliver Purnell is 8-1 in his three seasons against local foes.
DePaul Individual Notes:
• Cleveland Melvin’s streak in double-figures ended at 26 straight games... he entered the game tied for third in nation with longest active streaks in double-figures... Melvin’s last game with less than 10 points was an eight-point game at Louisville on Jan. 14, 2012.
• With seven points, Melvin moved into 32nd on DePaul’s all-time scoring list.
• Brandon Young played in his 75th career game... he recorded his 56th career game in doubled-figures.