DePaul suffers loss to Loyola

DePaul lost a heartbreaker to Loyola at the All State Arena Saturday afternoon, losing 69-61. The loss ended the Blue Demons seven game winning streak, and was also the last nonconference game for DePaul.
He Said It: DePaul head coach Oliver Purnell shared his thoughts on the tough loss to Loyola. "We just weren't mentally tough enough all night long to get ourselves in a situation to win the game," Purnell said. "Our starts haven't been great the last three, four games. That's something we gotta take a look at as well."
Key Stats: Low Second Half Shooting Percentages/Cleveland Melvin Limited. As a team, DePaul only made 35% of its field goal attempts in the second half, and missed all five of its three point attempts. Their shooting struggles also carried over to the free throw line, where DePaul only made 8 of 14 free throws, at 57%. The poor shooting second half from DePaul allowed Loyola to gain and maintain its lead.
Melvin had his lowest scoring game of the season, as he was limited to seven points in 30 minutes of play. Although he played strong defense, his offense was greatly missed, particularly in the second half.
Key Matchups: Ben Averkamp/Cully Payne. DePaul did a stellar job defensively on Averkamp, Loyola's leading scorer at 16.3 points per game. Averkamp was limited to nine points on 4 of 10 shooting from the field. Cleveland Melvin drew the assignment and bothered Averkamp all game long. DePaul did a nice job of sending a weakside helper when Averkamp attempted a shot, leading to his low field goal percentage.
While DePaul excelled in neutralizing Averkamp, point guard Payne torched the Blue Demons for 24 points, 4 assists and 4 rebounds. Coming into the game, Payne was shooting a horrendous 27% from the field. But he broke out of his season-long shooting slump, as he made 7 of 10 shots, including 3 of 6 from the three point line.
Next for DePaul: The Blue Demons (9-4) open up Big East conference play on Wednesday against Seton Hall (11-2).
Jamee Crockett had himself a strong first half, but cooled off in the second half. Crockett had an all-around showing in the first half, finishing with eight points, four assists, three rebounds and two steals. The key stat for Crockett was his 2 of 2 shooting from the three point line, as he's struggled from the three point line this year, only making 14% of his three's coming into the game.
Brandon Young provided the bulk of the offense for DePaul, finishing with 18 points. But his 4 of 8 shooting from the free throw line (all in the second half) prevented DePaul from cutting into Loyola's lead.
Worrel Clahar continued his stat sheet stuffing ways as DePaul's energetic sixth man. He had ten points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals off the bench.