DePaul vs. South Florida Game Preview

The Blue Demons return home for a rematch with the USF Bulls on Saturday afternoon. In this report we hear from DePaul coach Oliver Purnell and USF coach Stan Heath.

Key Information

DePaul Blue Demons vs. USF Bulls – Saturday, February 26th, 1 p.m. Central – Allstate Arena, Rosemont, Illinois

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

While the Blue Demons now have a Big East conference win under their belt this season, the home crowd at Allstate Arena has yet to see one. DePaul's (7-20, 1-14) lone conference win came at Providence last week. This rematch with South Florida (8-20, 2-13) represents an opportunity for the Blue Demons to give their fans at home that conference win.

This one is the battle for the basement in the Big East. With a win on Saturday, DePaul will be tied with South Florida for 15th place in the conference. Both teams would like to avoid the cellar.

"Generally we haven't been able to turn that corner all season long in winning close games or maybe improving in some areas that would allow us to be a little bit better," said USF coach Stan Heath. "We battled most teams wire-to-wire but just come up a little bit short in the last 3 or 4 minutes of games. Turnovers have been a little bit of a problem for us. Our shooting has been a problem for us. We're still battling. One thing I like is our guys fortitude in terms of continuing to work and continuing to work to get better and putting themselves in position to win. It's a big game for us this Saturday at DePaul. Both teams are trying to stay out of that 16 seed and push ourselves up a little bit more before the Big East Tournament."

One thing working in DePaul's favor is that USF is 0-11 in road games this season.

DePaul and South Florida are both desperate to get that win Saturday and try to build some momentum heading into the Big East tournament in March.

"We really want to get that win you can hang your hat on, that we haven't gotten yet," said USF guard Shaun Noriega. "We're hungry for that. We're looking forward to trying to get that."

The Blue Demons are looking for some payback after losing 71-60 to the Bulls in Tampa back on January 27th.

It was a game that DePaul was capable of winning if it weren't for being dominated on the boards by USF's frontcourt. USF outrebounded DePaul 31-24 that night.

DePaul had no answer for 6-10 center/forward Gus Gilchrist in that game who corralled 10 rebounds and scored nine.

Outside of Gilchrist, the Bulls have gotten a boost from a pair of junior college transfers in Jawanza Poland and Hugh Robertson. Poland is second on the team in scoring with 9.9 ppg, while Robertson is third with 8.8 ppg.

South Florida also gets contributions from Anthony Crater, who leads the team in assists at 4.7 apg, Jarrid Famous (8.4 ppg) and Ron Anderson Jr., a transfer from Kansas State who leads the team in rebounds with 6.5 a game.

The two teams are headed in opposite directions. Stan Heath is on the hot seat down in Tampa, while DePaul has improved of late and has a young nucleus in Oliver Purnell's first season in Chicago.

Making up that nucleus are freshmen Cleveland Melvin, Moses Morgan and Brandon Young.

"I think he's having a terrific year," Heath said of Melvin. "He's in a position where they need him to be productive as a freshman and he's delivering on that. He's very deceptive. You don't realize his length, especially with the length in his arms. He's got a nice touch from 15 to 17 feet in. He's so active, the way he moves around and flashes. He's going to be a very good player in this league. If his team, like ours, maybe had a few more wins then I think he would be discussed a lot more. He's a terrific player and he has a bright future in our league."

In Young, Purnell has a point guard who, despite being a freshman, is giving the Blue Demons some leadership.

"I've been pleased with him," Purnell said of Young. "As a point guard, it's awfully difficult when you don't have other guys who know the system and can help you out. It's one thing if you're placed in that situation as a starting point guard and you've got veterans around you, it's a little easier. He's had to learn. He hasn't had a lot of help form his teammates because they're learning at the same time. He's getting great experience and that bodes well for his future in the league and in college basketball. There are a number of things that he has to work on and needs to work on and he's looking to work on. His outside shooting needs to improve. His on-ball defense needs to improve; a number of things. Having said that, you're talking about an awfully talented young man who, when he works on things, he gets better. But the number one thing he's gained out of this year is playing time and experience and that's going to really help him."

The Last Time

On January 27th, 2010 in Tampa, USF prevailed over DePaul 71-60.

The Bulls were led by Hugh Robertson, who scored 16 points on six of none from the floor and two of four from beyond the arc.

Cleveland Melvin led all scorers with 17 points and was a perfect three for three from behind the arc.

Krys Faber racked up a career-high 16 points on seven for eight shooting.

USF Roster

No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Yr. Hometown (Prev School)

1 Anderson Jr., Ron F 6-8 255 RJr. Upper Marlboro, Md. (Kansas State) (McCallie School - Tenn.)

23 Burwell, Mike G 6-6 210 So. East Brunswick, N.J. (South Kent School - Conn.) (Cardinal McCarrick HS)

10 Crater, Anthony G 6-1 170 Jr. Flint, Mich. (Ohio State) (Brewster Academy - N.H.)

25 Damour, Alberto F 6-5 225 Sr. Poinciana, Fla. (Poinciana HS)

3 Dority, LaVonte G 6-1 195 Fr. Chicago, Ill. (Edwin G. Foreman HS)

31 Famous, Jarrid F 6-11 240 Sr. Bronx, N.Y. (Westchester Community College - N.Y.) (Blessed Sacrament HS)

32 Fitzpatrick, Toarlyn F 6-8 230 So. Tampa, Fla. (King HS)

24 Gilchrist, Augustus F 6-10 245 Jr. Clinton, Md. (Maryland) (Progressive Christian Academy - Md.)

11 Haynes, Shedrick G 6-0 180 Jr. Bradenton, Fla. (Lackawanna College) (Booker HS)

13 Heath, Jordan G 6-0 185 Fr. Detroit, Mich. (Tampa Prep)

22 Noriega, Shaun G 6-4 195 So. North Port, Fla. (North Port HS)

5 Poland, Jawanza G 6-4 200 So. Wichita, Kan. (Hutchinson CC) (Wichita East)

34 Robertson, Hugh G 6-6 202 Jr. Macon, Ga. (Tallahassee CC) (Northeast HS)

Rudd, Victor F 6-7 207 So. Los Angeles, Calif. (Arizona State) (Findlay Prep (Nev.))

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