Blue Demons Fall to Ole Miss
GUAYNABO, Puerto Rico A three-pointer by Chris Warren pushed undefeated Mississippi past DePaul, 69-63, on Thursday at the San Juan Shootout. Warren’s shot from the top of key with just 33 seconds left gave the Rebels a four-point advantage followed by two free throws for the final six-point margin.
A back-and-forth first half saw neither side lead by more than five points with DePaul (2-7) holding the lead for a majority of the period. The first 20 minutes saw the score tied four times and the lead change hands on four occasions.
The Blue Demons started quickly as Will Walker’s breakaway layup made the score 9-4 just under six minutes into the game. DePaul held off Ole Miss (9-0) until a Trevor Gaskins three-pointer tied the game at 19-19 with 7:27 left until halftime.
With DePaul holding a four-point lead, the Rebels reeled off buckets by Dwayne Curtis and Eniel Polynice to tie the game at 27-27. Dar Tucker matched Ole Miss on DePaul’s next two possessions with a pair of driving lay-ups in the paint to give the Blue Demons a 31-27 lead at intermission.
The second half played similar to the first stanza as DePaul took an early five-point advantage only to see Ole Miss tie the game. The first 10 minutes of the second half saw the score knotted on four occasions.
Draelon Burns broke the fourth tie of the half on a three-pointer with 8:40 left in the game. Burns’ three-pointer was the last field goal for the Blue Demons as they finished the evening by knocking down 10 straight free throws.
The final minutes saw Ole Miss take a one-point lead at 60-59 before Karron Clarke answered with two free shots at 4:11 to regain the advantage for the Blue Demons.
Dwayne Curtis scored four straight points to give the Rebels a three-point lead before Burns knocked down his 11th and 12th free throws of the game to pull the Blue Demons to within a point with 1:35 on the clock. His 12-for-12 effort from the line marked just the sixth time a DePaul player has gone without a miss while taking a minimum of 12 attempts in a game.
Following an Ole Miss time out, Warren found himself at the top of the key and his three-pointer with 33 ticks on the clock put the Rebels four points ahead. Wesley Green’s three-point attempt with 18 seconds left was rebounded by David Huertas before Curtis hit two free throws for the 69-63 final.
Burns led DePaul with 17 points while Clarke added an 11-point, 11-rebound double-double. Green totaled 10 points and Tucker grabbed 13 rebounds to go with nine points.
Ole Miss was led by Curtis with 21 points while Williams finished with 10 points and 16 boards. The Rebels entered the game as the nation’s second-highest scoring offense with an average of 89.9 points per game.
DePaul makes the quick turnaround for a 4 p.m. AT (2 p.m. CT) game tomorrow against No. 15/15 Clemson. The Tigers enter the game at 9-0 following their 90-73 win over Puerto Rico-Mayaguez in the first game on Thursday. The game can be heard live on www.depaulbluedemons.com.
Game Notes: Cliff Clinkscales played in his 100th career game... he moved into a tie for 18th all-time with 269 assists (Jermaine Watts, 1994-98)... Draelon Burns is now 47th all-time with 948 career points... he passed Kevin Holmes (1982-86, 936 pts.), Ken Jaksy (1953-56, 938 pts.) and Jesse Nash (1961-65, 940 pts.) on Thursday... DePaul is now 2-2 all-time in the San Juan Shootout... the game was just the second all-time meeting with the series now tied, 1-1.