Blue Demons and Panthers scheduled for early 6 p.m. start in Rosemont
Jan. 4, 2012
CHICAGO - The DePaul Blue Demons host the Pittsburgh Panthers on Thursday night at Allstate Arena as both teams look for the first league victory of the season. The Panthers and Blue Demons square off at 6 p.m. in Rosemont as DePaul stands at 0-1 in the BIG EAST while Pittsburgh is 0-2 in league action.
The Blue Demons concluded the non-conference schedule with a 63-58 win over Cal Poly on Dec. 21 to secure the best record through 12 games since an identical 9-3 start to the 1999-00 campaign. DePaul opened BIG EAST play on Jan. 1 against top-ranked Syracuse with an 87-68 loss in Rosemont.
The Blue Demons and Panthers meet for the ninth time Thursday evening and all of the action can be heard on WSCR 670 The Score with Zach Zaidman (play-by-play) and Laurence Holmes (analyst) providing the audio description. Thursday’s action will be televised on ESPN2 with Dave Pasch (play-by-play) and Stephen Bardo (analyst) on the call.
Audio streaming of the radio call and live stats are also available online at www.depaulbluedemons.com. In-game scoring updates and notes can be followed as well at www.twitter.com/depaulsid.
Following the Pitt game, DePaul opens a three-game road trip at Villanova. The Blue Demons play the Wildcats at The Pavilion on Sunday at Noon ET before moving on to Seton Hall for a Tuesday night contest at the Prudential Center. The road trip concludes on Saturday, Jan. 14 at Louisville.
Noting the Blue Demons: The men’s basketball program is 1,381-865 (.615) all-time... the Blue Demons have knocked down at least one three-pointer in 561 straight games... DePaul’s last game without a three was Feb. 16, 1993 against UAB at Allstate Arena... the Blue Demons are 309-135 (.696) all-time in Rosemont... DePaul is 6-1 (.857) all-time in games at McGrath-Phillips Arena... DePaul’s 9-3 start is the best through 12 games since the 1999-00 squad also started 9-3... over the last 25 seasons, only three teams have started with nine or more wins in the first 12 games... the Blue Demons currently hold a seven-game winning streak against Chicagoland programs that includes victories over Chicago State, UIC, Loyola and Northern Illinois... in each of Oliver Purnell’s two seasons at DePaul, the Blue Demons have faced three Chicagoland opponents during the non-conference portion of the schedule with wins in each meeting.
The Opponent - Pittsburgh Panthers: Pittsburgh enters Thursday’s game at 11-4 overall and 0-2 in BIG EAST play... the Panthers have dropped three straight including league losses at Notre Dame (72-59) and against Cincinnati (66-63)... the three-game losing streak is just the third time in head coach Jamie Dixon’s nine-year tenure at Pitt... preseason BIG EAST Player of the Year Ashton Gibbs leads the team with 16.9 points per game and 39 three-pointers... Nasir Robinson adds 12.9 points and a team-best 6.7 rebounds per contest... Tray Woodall is averaging 12.4 points per game but has played in only eight games this season... as a team, the Panthers lead the nation with a +13.0 rebounding margin.
The Series: Thursday is the ninth meeting between the two programs... Pittsburgh holds a 7-1 advantage with seven straight victories... all seven of the Pitt wins have been in BIG EAST action... the Blue Demons and Panthers are playing at Allstate Arena for the second straight season.
The Last Meeting: No. 5/4 Pittsburgh defeated DePaul, 80-50, on Jan. 22, 2011 at Allstate Arena... Gilbert Brown scored 17 points and Ashton Gibbs added 13 to lead Pitt... Cleveland Melvin was the lone DePaul player in double-figures with 11 points... the Panthers outrebounded DePaul, 48-33, with Gary McGhee pulling down 15 boards.
It Could Happen: A win would be the first for DePaul against Pittsburgh in BIG EAST play... it would also end a 15-game losing streak at Allstate Arena in conference games... Jeremiah Kelly needs four three-pointers to move into a tie for sixth all-time... Peter Patton (1992-96) is sixth with 134 career three’s.
Demon Doings: Notes following DePaul’s 87-68 loss against No. 1/1 Syracuse on Jan. 1:
- Syracuse is the first No.1-ranked team to visit DePaul at Allstate Arena... DePaul is now 3-18 all-time against the top-ranked team... the Blue Demons have also dropped 32 straight games against ranked opponents... DePaul’s last win over a ranked team was an 84-76 win over #17/16 Villanova on Jan. 3, 2008 at Allstate Arena.
- DePaul is 1-6 all-time in BIG EAST openers... in conference openers that include Conference USA and the Great Midwest Conference, the Blue Demons are 5-15 all-time in first league games.
- Jeremiah Kelly became the third player in DePaul history with at least 300 career assists and 130 career three-pointers... Kelly joins Brandon Cole (1991-95) and Peter Patton (1992-96) on the list.
- Cleveland Melvin reached double-figures for the 12th time this season (31st career time)... he has recorded 13 career games of at least 20 points including five this season.
- Donnavan Kirk recorded a career-high 14 points... it is his first career game in double-figures.
- Brandon Young was held scoreless for the first time in his career... season-high eight assists.
- The Blue Demons were held to a season-low 26 first-half points.
- Syracuse opens the season at 15-0 for the sixth time in program history... the 1999-00 club started the campaign with a 19-0 record for the best start in school history... a year ago, the Orange started the season with 18 straight victories.
- Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim won his 871st career game moving him within five victories of tying Adolf Rupp for fourth on the all-time NCAA Division I coaching wins list.
- Kris Joseph reached double-figures for the 12th time this season... Joseph passed Ryan Blackwell (1997-00) for 42nd on Syracuse’s all-time scoring list.
- Sunday was the 13th meeting between the two programs... Syracuse leads the series, 9-4.
- In BIG EAST play, the Orange have claimed six of the seven meetings.
Kelly Joins Three-Pointer/Assist Short List: With one three-pointer and three assists against Syracuse on Jan. 1, DePaul senior guard Jeremiah Kelly joined two other players that have recorded at least 130 career three’s and 300 assists.
Entering the Pittsburgh game on Thursday, Kelly has compiled 130 three-pointers and 302 assists in 107 career games. Those numbers put Kelly at seventh on DePaul’s career three-point field goal list and 10th on the career assist chart. Brandon Cole (1991-95) was the first player to record the combination over his career with 155 three’s and 351 assists. He was followed by Peter Patton (1992-96) with 134 three’s and 313 helpers.
BIG EAST Openers: The Blue Demons are 1-6 in BIG EAST first games following the loss to Syracuse on Jan. 1. The 84-76 win over Villanova to start the 2007-08 conference schedule serves as the single victory. DePaul’s league-opening win over the 17th-ranked Wildcats sparked a 3-1 BIG EAST start for DePaul to set the best conference start in program history.
A year ago, the Blue Demons dropped a 76-60 decision at Cincinnati on Dec. 28, 2010. DePaul has started the BIG EAST slate on the road in four of six seasons.
DePaul has been a member of a conference since the 1991-92 season starting with membership in the Great Midwest Conference followed by a 10-year run in Conference USA. The Blue Demons joined the BIG EAST in July 2005 and are 5-15 all-time in conference openers.
Q Extends NBA Streak to 37 Straight: With Quentin Richardson (1998-00) logging five minutes in Orlando’s opener on Dec. 25 at Oklahoma City, he extended DePaul’s streak to 37 straight seasons with a former Blue Demon playing in the NBA. Bill Robinzine started the streak with Sacramento Kings in the 1975-76 season. A total of 17 players have played over the 37 straight years of DePaul influence in the NBA.
In addition to Richardson playing this season for Orlando, Tyrone Corbin (1981-85) is in his first full season as head coach of the Utah Jazz. Corbin replaced Jerry Sloan during the season a year ago when Sloan announced his retirement. Corbin played for nine NBA team during his pro career from 1985-01.
Month-to-Month: After starting the season with a 4-1 record in November, the Blue Demons posted a 5-2 mark in December. It was the second straight December with five victories to mark the most wins in December since the 2006-07 team went posted a 7-1 record in the 12th month. Over the last four seasons, DePaul has posted December records of 5-3 in 2010-11, 3-5 in 2009-10, 4-6 in 2008-09 and 2-5 in 2007-08.