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November 17, 2012DePaul took Thursday's upset loss to Gardner Webb to heart, and made the proper adjustments Saturday. This was not the same DePaul team that was shocked by the Runnin' Bulldogs. Not at all. This DePaul (2-1) team came out energetic Saturday against Austin Peay (1-3), dismantling the Governors at the All State Arena, winning 98-67.
DePaul excelled Saturday thanks to its full-court press, which clearly rattled Austin Peay. The Governors succumbed to DePaul's relentless pressure, committing 27 turnovers, which led to an astounding 42 DePaul points. The Blue Demons also harassed Austin Peay on inbound passes, forcing them to take several timeouts because of DePaul's pressure. It proved to be the deciding factor in the game, and the reason for Austin Peay's lopsided loss.
Austin Peay had no answer for Cleveland Melvin, as the junior forward put on a show. Melvin stuffed the stat sheet with 26 points, eight rebounds, four steals and three assists. He even made both of his 3-point attempts. Brandon Young also performed well, finishing with 17 points, five rebounds and five assists.
Head coach Oliver Purnell made a notable change to the starting lineup, going with Charles McKinney in place of Moses Morgan. Despite coming off the bench, Morgan responded very well and had a solid game. Morgan finished with 15 points in only 18 minutes. He made four of eight 3-pointers, and it rubbed off on his teammates. DePaul made 39.1% of its three's.
Purnell was pleased with Morgan's play off the bench. "I though he played well, played within himself," Purnell said. "He did a better job defensively. I like him in that role for right now and I think he's comfortable in that role." Coming off the bench didn't faze Morgan, according to Purnell. "He embraced it," Purnell said. "I thought he did a good job of being very loud on the bench, loud when he was on the floor."
Melvin started it off for DePaul, scoring six quick points to start the game. He was aggressive at the onset, finishing with 13 first half points. Brandon Young finished the first half very strong, as he took over late. Young had 16 first half points, Austin Peay couldn't stop the junior guard. He was able to penetrate and get into the lane at will, and also shot the ball well from deep.
DePaul's full court press gave Austin Peay fits in the first half, creating numerous points off turnovers for the Blue Demons. Austin Peay had 18 turnovers, which DePaul converted to 31 points.
DePaul cooled down in the second half, not utilizing its full court press as much. But that didn't stop Melvin from scoring at will. Melvin once again started things off for DePaul, with five quick points. His strong play from the first half carried over, as he scored 13 second half points.
Despite DePaul's thrashing of Austin Peay, the Blue Demons did receive some bad news. Sophomore guard/forward Jamee Crockett hurt his right knee midway through the second half. The high-riser soared for a tip-dunk, but encountered contact in the air. He took a hard fall and immediately grabbed in right knee in pain. He had to leave the game and didn't return.
"He didn't have as much pain as the game ended," Purnell said. "I'm just hoping and praying he's ok." Purnell said it was too early to know the severity of the injury, that they would know more in the coming days. Crockett only had four points and continued to struggle offensively, but he did everything else well. He had eight rebounds, four steals, two assists and a block in just 14 minutes of play. It's a tough blow for DePaul, and it remains to be seen how much time Crockett is going to miss. He's likely going to sit out the rest of the Cancun Challenge.
DePaul's next game in the Cancun Challenge will be against Wichita State, in Cancun on Tuesday. Purnell spoke highly of the Shockers, calling them a quality "Big East caliber" opponent.
Durrell McDonald gave the Blue Demons quality minutes off the bench. He had nine points and two steals in 17 minutes. He played solid defense, and gives Purnell the luxury of moving over Young off the ball. McDonald even got to play off the ball, when Worrel Clahar was in the game at the same time.
Derrel Robertson Jr. provided and imposing presence off the bench, totaling seven points and three rebounds. The DePaul bench scored 44 points, and they continue to perform well as a collective unit.
DePaul's free throw woes continue. The Blue Demons only made 9 0f 17 free throw attempts Saturday. Through three games, DePaul has only converted on 64% of its free throws. It's a figure that need to improve, especially with the two games remaining in the Cancun Challenge.