DePaul vs. #25 West Virginia Game Preview

The Blue Demons hit the road this weekend for a trip to 25th ranked West Virginia on Saturday afternoon. In this report, we preview the game and hear from DePaul associate head coach Dr. Ron Bradley.

Key Information

DePaul Blue Demons vs. #25 West Virginia – Saturday, February 12th, 3 p.m. Central – Morgantown, West Virginia

Television – WCUU "The U Too" Chicago

For viewers watching with an antenna, the over-the-air digital position will be WCIU-TV 26.5 and 26.6. The U Too will also be available on analog WCUU-CA, Channel 48. Cable subscribers will see The U Too on Comcast 248, RCN 35 and WOW 170.

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Game Preview

Staring down a 0-11 Big East record (6-17 overall), DePaul is grasping at straws for a silver lining.

Fans of DePaul have relied on the inspired efforts the Blue Demons gave in their last two contests. On Tuesday night, the Demons lost to Cincinnati, 71-68, while previously losing at Louisville 61-57 on Saturday.

It's the only mojo DePaul has going for them, and it's with that faith that they will have to turn to when they go on the road again for what figures to be another very challenging road contest. For the second time this year DePaul will take on the West Virginia Mountaineers (15-8, 6-5 in the Big East) on Saturday, with this game taking place in Morgantown, West Virginia.

The last time DePaul played West Virginia, the Demons played perhaps their best Big East game to date, and were only a Brandon Young jumpshot away from being winners in a 67-65 defeat on January 4th.

This time around the Mountaineers should look like a hungry bunch after faltering in the second half to Pittsburgh and losing 71-66 on Monday night.

The usual refrain amongst Big East teams when DePaul is on the docket is the claim that the game is a "must win." You'll hear the usual, ‘don't overlook the small guy', ‘fear the trap game' etc., especially when the schedule for said team is sure to feature match-ups with Top 25 teams still remaining.

So, the chances of DePaul snapping its 23-game losing streak in Big East play on Saturday night seem to remain slim.

Ron Bradley, DePaul Associate Head Coach, who was subbing in for Oliver Purnell at the Big East conference call, knows the team is getting there but still faces a daunting task.

"Obviously we're looking to get over the hump here," Bradley said. "We knew coming into this year there would be a significant learning curve for our players in terms of learning our system and instituting that and even for the coaches to a large degree."

"This is our first time through this league," Bradley added. "It's a brutal league obviously. We're just learning the systems, strengths and tendencies of these teams. We're pleased with the progress."

The Mountaineers are a well-balanced group and feature three players averaging in double figures (Casey Mitchell, Kevin Jones and Darryl "Truck" Bryant).

However, it has been the solid contribution from 6-9 Deniz Kilicli that has been turning heads in Morgantown. The big man from Turkey is coming off a good game versus Pittsburgh in which he scored a career high 19 points.

Back when the two teams met in January, DePaul had trouble guarding Kilicli. With his variety of post moves and swift hook shots, Kilicli baffled DePaul en route to 14 points and causing trouble up front for DePaul defenders.

Coming off a Final Four last year, West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins finds his team in a different position this year. This time around, Huggins finds his team in dire needs for wins in order to impress the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee. So from West Virginia's perspective, they can ill afford to lose this game. With the urgency of every game, this is a game where West Virginia's experience and poise should make a difference.

For DePaul, again they will have to look to their freshmen in Cleveland Melvin, Moses Morgan and Brandon Young for scoring. All three have been contributing in the last couple of games with the last game versus Cincinnati being the benchmark.

In Tuesday's defeat, all three players scored in double digits in the same game for the first time in their career.

Bradley is encouraged by the play of the young trio.

"We're really pleased with the progress of our freshman," said Bradley. "Brandon Young and Cleveland Melvin have received a lot of minutes this year (but) they sort of hit a wall a little bit. At some point once we hit Big East play, (we) really had to step it up. Lately they're getting their second wind and really playing well and learning what it takes to play in the Big East. Moses Morgan, who has received quite a bit of increased playing time lately, has really helped us. He's shooting 41 percent in the league from the 3-point line and that's so important in today's game."

The Last Time

On January 4th, DePaul trailed West Virginia by as many as 14 points with 10:08 to go in the second half and mustered quite a comeback, but the Blue Demons fell short in a 67-65 loss.

Casey Mitchell led all scorers with 18 points and was three of seven from beyond the arc for WVU.

Deniz Kilicli contributed with 14 points and Kevin Jones added 13 for West Virginia.

Freshman forward Cleveland Melvin led the way for DePaul with 17 points and was seven of 12 from the floor.

Freshman guard Brandon Young added 12 points and junior big man Krys Faber chipped in with 10 points.

Senior guard Jimmy Drew started his first game as a Blue Demon in place of Mike Stovall and led DePaul in rebounding with six boards.

WVU Roster

No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Class Hometown

25 Darryl Bryant G 6-2 195 Jr. Brooklyn, N.Y.

15 Craig Carey G 6-2 160 r-So. Morgantown, W.Va.

20 Jake Ferguson F 6-6 190 Fr. Summersville, W.Va.

41 John Flowers F 6-7 215 Sr. Waldorf, Md.

5 Kevin Jones F 6-8 260 Jr. Mount Vernon, N.Y.

13 Deniz Kilicli F 6-9 270 So. Istanbul, Turkey

21 Joe Mazzulla G 6-2 200 r-Sr. Johnston, R.I.

3 Casey Mitchell G 6-4 220 Sr. Savannah, Ga.

34 Kevin Noreen F 6-10 235 Fr. Minneapolis, Minn.

32 Dalton Pepper G 6-5 230 So. Levittown, Pa.

12 Kenny Ross G 6-0 175 r-Fr. Furlong, Pa.

24 Kerwin Selby G 6-4 210 r-Jr. Bel Air, Md.

2 Cam Thoroughman F 6-7 235 r-Sr. Portsmouth, Ohio

4 Jonnie West G 6-3 195 r-Sr. Memphis, Tenn.

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