DePaul Blue Demons vs. Western Carolina Catamounts – Tuesday, November 16th, 7:30 p.m. Central – Allstate Arena, Rosemont, IL
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DePaul (1-0) is feeling the euphoria of a 114-81 win over Chicago State on Sunday night, but now face a quick turnaround with Western Carolina (0-1) coming in to Allstate Arena on Tuesday night.
Ironically, Western Carolina is coming off a 87-64 loss to Oliver Purnell's former team at Clemson on Friday night.
While Chicago State was an unknown commodity for Purnell on Sunday, he is more than familiar with Western Carolina from his years at Clemson.
"Obviously we're playing a much better team on Tuesday in Western Carolina," Purnell said. "Had a chance to play them last year when I was at Clemson. They gave us all we wanted there. It will be a bigger challenge for sure."
The Catamounts did give Purnell's team all they wanted in that one, they had them on the ropes in the second half. Clemson led 56-51 with under eight minutes to play in that game before going on a 19-0 run to seal the 79-57 win at Littlejohn Coliseum.
Western Carolina finished the 2009-10 season with a 22-12, 11-7 record. They lost in the semifinals of their conference tournament, but did receive a postseason invitation to the CollegeInsider.com tournament.
The Catamounts are led by veteran coach Larry Hunter who coached at Ohio University for 12 years.
In Friday's loss at Clemson, the Catamounts were led by redshirt freshman Trey Sumler with 16 points. Sumler was a perfect four for four shooting from the floor including three for three from beyond the arc and five of seven from the free throw line. Redshirt junior Harouna Mutombo finished with 12 points, all of which came on trifectas. Senior Mike Williams chipped in with 10 points.
Clemson was able to dominate by pounding the ball inside on Western Carolina and keeping a 37-29 rebounding edge over the Catamounts.
Which leads us to a key to Tuesday night's game.
"Rebounding, rebounding, rebounding," said Purnell.
It will be important for starting center Krys Faber to stay out of trouble this time out and stay in the game. It's also important for the Blue Demons to adopt a gang-rebounding mentality.
"We just have to attack the defensive rebounds, block out, and get aggressive down there and don't run out for the outlet passes, as a team as a whole just go in and rebound," said DePaul sophomore forward Tony Freeland.
Basketball fans around Chicagoland are starting to take notice of the exciting uptempo style of ball that Purnell has brought with him from Clemson.
"I really like it because this has been how I've been playing my whole life even when I was in grammar school, to high school, and to now," said senior Mike Stovall. "It really gets us into our offense. We can get quick layups and just run our offense the right way. I really like it."
"I love it," added Freeland. "We have a lot of athletes on our team and we won't be effective at a slower pace."
While Sunday's win over CSU was an exciting start to a new era, the senior leader in Stovall is keeping the underclassmen on the team in check.
"It's only the first game, so I don't want to get all excited about it," said Stovall. "I'm telling the freshmen that. They're so excited because it's their first college win and I'm happy for them, but we still got to grind it out every day."
W. Carolina Roster
No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Yr. Hometown (Previous School)
0 Tom Tankelewicz F 6-5 185 SO Apex, N.C. (Middle Creek HS)
1 Dillon Dunford G 5-11 165 SO Cullowhee, N.C. (Smoky Mountain HS)
3 Anthony Phillip F 6-4 210 SR Lauderdale Lakes, Fla. (Boyd H. Anderson HS)
4 Keaton Cole G 5-10 170 JR Toronto, Ontario (Eastern Commerce)
5 Trey Sumler G 6-2 175 RS FR Rocky Mount, N.C. (Nash Central HS)
12 Mike Williams G 6-2 175 SR Baton Rouge, La. (Genesis One Prep HS)
22 Harouna Mutombo G 6-4 195 RS JR Pickering, Ontario (Pickering HS)
24 Brandon Boggs G 6-4 180 FR Greenville, S.C. (J.L. Mann HS)
32 Tawaski King F 6-8 245 FR Dublin, Ga. (Dublin HS)
33 Ishmael Hollis F 6-8 190 FR Flowery Branch, Ga. (Flowering Branch HS)
34 Blake Gallagher F 6-8 240 SR Monroe, N.C. (Fork Union Military Academy)
40 Preston Ross G 6-4 210 FR Fayetteville, N.C. (Seventy-First HS)
44 Sam Smithson C 6-9 225 RS SO Horse Shoe, N.C. (West Henderson HS)
50 Richie Gordon F 6-9 245 SR Atlanta, Ga. (Lakeside HS)
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