Dec. 30, 2011
CHICAGO - The DePaul Blue Demons open the 2011-12 BIG EAST schedule on New Year’s Day against top-ranked Syracuse at Allstate Arena. The Orange and Blue Demons square off at 4 p.m. in Rosemont as Syracuse represents the first No. 1-ranked opponent for DePaul to visit Allstate Arena.
The Blue Demons concluded the non-conference schedule with a 63-58 win over Cal Poly on Dec. 21 and hold a five-game winning streak while the 9-3 start is the best record through 12 games since the same 9-3 start to the 1999-00 campaign.
The Blue Demons and Orange meet for the 13th time Sunday evening and all of the action can be heard on WSCR 670 The Score with Jeff Blanzy (play-by-play) and Laurence Holmes (analyst) providing the audio description. Sunday’s action will be televised on the BIG EAST Network that includes The U Too (WCUU-TV) in the Chicago market. For Chicagoland viewers watching with an antenna, the over-the-air digital position is The U Too 26.2. Chicagoland cable subscribers can find The U Too on Comcast 248, RCN 35 and WOW 170.
Audio streaming of the radio call and live stats are also available online on BlueTube at www.depaulbluedemons.com. In-game scoring updates and notes can be followed as well at www.twitter.com/depaulsid.
Following the Syracuse game, DePaul hosts Pittsburgh on Jan. 5 at Allstate Arena. The game is scheduled for a 6 p.m. start and can be heard on WSCR 670 The Score and seen on ESPN2.
Noting the Blue Demons: The men’s basketball program is 1,381-864 (.615) all-time... the Blue Demons have knocked down at least one three-pointer in 560 straight games... DePaul’s last game without a three was Feb. 16, 1993 against UAB at Allstate Arena... the Blue Demons are 309-134 (.698) 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 - Syracuse Orange: Syracuse enters Sunday’s game at 14-0 and ranked No. 1 in both of this week’s AP and Coaches’ polls... the Orange have held the top slot in both top 25’s for the last three weeks... Syracuse is the highest scoring team in the BIG EAST at 80.3 points per game and have won by an average of 22.0 points per game in the 14 victories... the Orange opened BIG EAST play Wednesday night with a 75-49 win over Seton Hall at the Carrier Dome... Kris Joseph leads the team with 13.4 points per game ahead of Dion Waiters average of 12.5... Fab Melo adds 6.8 points along with team highs of 5.5 rebounds per game and 41 blocked shots... as a team, Syracuse has tallied 106 blocks this season to go with 162 steals... head coach Jim Boeheim is in his 36th season leading the Syracuse program.
The Series: Sunday is the 13th meeting between the two programs... Syracuse holds an 8-4 advantage and the two sides have split four meetings in Rosemont... a year ago, the Orange posted the largest margin of victory in a BIG EAST game with a 107-59 decision... the last two meetings at Allstate Arena have been decided by a combined seven points... Syracuse posted a 59-57 win on Jan. 30, 2010 and a 60-55 victory on Jan. 30, 2008... in the first BIG EAST meeting between the two programs, the Blue Demons recorded a 108-69 win at Allstate Arena on Mar. 2, 2006... since that game, the Orange have won the last five meetings.
The Last Meeting: Syracuse defeated DePaul, 107-59, at the Carrier Dome on Mar. 5, 2011... the game was the largest margin of victory in a conference game in BIG EAST history... the No. 12 Orange used early runs of 11-0 and 14-2 to build a 27-8 advantage midway through the first half... Tony Freeland led all scorers with 25 points and Moses Morgan added 16 off the bench... Syracuse placed six in double-figures with Rick Jackson and Scoop Jardine each scoring 14 points... the Orange combined to shoot .714 (45-63) from the field compared to .391 (25-64) for the Blue Demons.
BIG EAST Openers: The Blue Demons are 1-5 in BIG EAST first games with the 84-76 win over Villanova to start the 2007-08 conference schedule serving 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 5-14 all-time in conference openers.
Against No. 1: Sunday’s game against Syracuse marks the 21st occasion that the Blue Demons have faced the top-ranked team in the Associated Press poll... the Blue Demons are 3-17 all-time in games against No. 1... Syracuse is the first No. 1 opponent for DePaul at Allstate Arena... the last No. 1 game was a 87-64 loss at Cincinnati on Feb. 13, 2000... later that season on Mar. 2, 2000 second-ranked Cincinnati posted a 64-62 come-from-behind win over the Blue Demons... the Bearcats move back up to the No. 1 slot following the win over the Blue Demons... DePaul also hosted No. 1-ranked Duke on Feb. 24, 1999 at the United Center... the Blue Devils defeated that Blue Demons, 96-64... as a No. 1-ranked team, DePaul has played as the AP’s No. 1-ranked team at Allstate Arena 17 times with a 16-1 record.
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.
It Could Happen: A win will give DePaul its best start since beginning the 1999-00 season with a 10-3 record... a win would also secure a six-game winning streak for the first time since a six-game run from Feb. 25-Mar. 12, 2004... a win would end a 31-game losing streak against ranked opponents... Jeremiah Kelly needs one assist for 300 career... with one assist and one three-pointer, Kelly becomes the third player in DePaul history with at least 300 assists and 130 three-pointers... he would join Brandon Cole (1991-95) and Peter Patton (1992-96) on the short list.
Demon Doings: Notes following DePaul’s 63-58 win against Cal Poly on Dec. 21:
- DePaul’s 9-3 start marks the team’s best record through its first 12 games since the 1990-2000 season... that team also started with a 9-3 record...it is just the third time in the last 25 seasons that DePaul opened its season with at least nine wins in its first 12 games.
- The win was DePaul’s fifth in a row... it marks the Blue Demons’ first five-game winning streak since a five-game run from Dec. 13-19, 2006.
- With his first basket of the second half, Cleveland Melvin registered his 600th career point...he finished the game with 15 points...was his 30th career game in double-figures.
- With a layup in the final minute, Brandon Young also reached the 600-point plateau... he finished with 16 for his 31st career game in double-figures.
- The Blue Demons were held to a season-low 28 first half points for the fourth time this season.
- Jamee Crockett started his fifth straight game for DePaul and scored 10 points... has registered double-figures in four of his last five games.
- Cal Poly allowed over 50 points for just the fourth time in 12 games this season.
- The game was the first meeting between the two programs.
Blue Demons Eyeing One of the Best Starts in 25 Seasons: If DePaul posts a victory Sunday evening over Syracuse, the 10-3 record would be the best start since the 1999-00 squad that featured four starters that played in the NBA. The 1999-00 edition of DePaul basketball featured Steven Hunter, Quentin Richardson, Bobby Simmons and Paul McPherson and opened the season with an 11-3 record before finishing at 21-12 following a first-round 81-77 overtime time loss to Kansas in the NCAA Tournament.
Since a 16-0 start in 1986-87 that featured current staff member Kevin Edwards as a junior at DePaul, only two teams have opened seasons with at least 10 wins in the first 13 games. The 1993-94 team started at 10-3 followed by the 10-3 start for the 1999-00 squad.
Three Decades in Rosemont: DePaul is in its 32nd season in 2011-12 at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill. The Blue Demons are 309-134 (.698) all-time in Rosemont. DePaul played its first season at the then-named Rosemont Horizon in 1980. The Blue Demons debuted in Rosemont with a 74-56 win over Gonzaga and John Stockton on Dec. 1, 1980.
BIG EAST Preseason Picks: DePaul was picked to finish 16th in the BIG EAST Conference in a vote conducted by league coaches in October. Syracuse and Connecticut were tabbed a co-favorites with each school getting 209 points. They were followed by Louisville with 201 points and Pittsburgh with 188 points.
Pittsburgh’s Ashton Gibbs was named the Preseason Player of the Year and joined on the league’s preseason first team by Jeremy Lamb of Connecticut, Darius Johnson-Odom from Marquette, Notre Dame’s Tim Abromaitis, Syracuse’s Kris Joseph and Kevin Jones from West Virginia.
DePaul’s Cleveland Melvin - the 2011 BIG EAST Rookie of the Year - was a preseason honorable mention All-BIG EAST selection.