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November 27, 2012After two tough losses in the Cancun Challenge last week, DePaul got a much needed 85-78 victory Tuesday night against Fairfield at the All State Arena. The win was a confidence booster for the Blue Demons (3-3), after their disappointing showing in Cancun. Brandon Young expressed the importance of Tuesday's victory. "It was very important," Young said. "We didn't wanna have that losing taste in our mouth anymore. We know how to win and play DePaul basketball."
Cleveland Melvin and Young once again led the Blue Demons to a win, with Melvin providing the offense in the first half and Young closing out the game. Melvin had 30 points, 24 of which came in the first half. Young finished with 20 points and five assists, and he scored 14 second half points.
Melvin had his way with Fairfield in the first half, en route to 24pts on 11/17 shooting from the field. Melvin had 15 points in the game's first seven minutes of the half alone. He did most of his damage close to the basket, but also hit a 3. Young did a good job of setting him up with nice passes near the basket, and Melvin's jump hook was efficient. As a team, DePaul shot with 56% from the field. But Fairfield guard and former De La Salle standout Derek Needham kept the Stags in the game, scoring 16 points of his own in the first half. DePaul carried a 45-37 lead at halftime.
Melvin wasn't as effective in the second half, he was limited to six points. But luckily for the Blue Demons, Donnavan Kirk came out aggressive. Kirk had eight points in the second half, and he finished with ten points, nine rebounds and four blocks. Additionally, sophomore guard Charles McKinney was active on both ends of the floor. He finished with 11 points, four assists and three steals, with the bulk of his production coming in the second half.
But when the game got close, DePaul turned to it's junior leader, Young. The guard had 14 second half points, and he made crucial free throws to seal the win for the Blue Demons. He went toe to toe with Needham, who finished with 29 points and eight assists. Young scored his team's last four points to ice the game. "As me being a point guard, I had to take control and calm everybody down," Young said.
DePaul plays its next game on Friday in the SEC/Big East Challenge against Auburn (2-4).
Freshman Durrell McDonald made his first start of the year, and scored six points in 22 minutes. Head coach Oliver Purnell spoke highly of the guard's first start, highlighting his stout defense.
Sophomore Jamee Crockett is doubtful for Friday's game against Auburn. Purnell hopes to have the guard back on December 5th, against Chicago State.