DePaul Blue Demons vs. Lewis Flyers – Saturday, November 5th, 7:30 p.m. Central – McGrath-Phillips Arena, Chicago, Illinois
Note: The game is immediately following the DePaul women's team exhibition game vs. St. Xavier which begins at 5 p.m.
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The Blue Demons welcome in their only exhibition opponent for the 2011-12 season in the Lewis Flyers on Saturday night.
DePaul will be looking for some revenge after losing to Lewis 70-68 in Oliver Purnell's inaugural season as coach last year.
The Blue Demons are better prepared for Lewis this year. Last season they took Lewis too lightly after blowing out their first exhibition opponent - Northwood University 107-62.
This year, DePaul has toughened things up by taking on Wisconsin in a controlled scrimmage last weekend.
"It was good for us," Purnell said of the Wisconsin scrimmage. "It was a scrimmage against a quality program with some experienced players and a great guard. Those are the kinds of teams that we'll see starting in Orlando at the Old Spice tournament and on up through Big East play. It's good for our guys to go against that type of high caliber competition."
Senior guard Jeremiah Kelly liked that Wisconsin gave him an idea of how much progress the Blue Demons have made.
"It gave us a chance to see where we are at and where we need to be," said Kelly. "We got a chance to go up and down against some others guys besides ourselves. It was good to go against a NCAA tournament team like Wisconsin to see where we are at right now."
Like Wisconsin, the Flyers are a disciplined, well-coached team. Scott Trost's squad will test the Blue Demons at times. Trost was once an assistant coach at Michigan under now DePaul assistant Brian Ellerbe.
"We were excited to scrimmage last week with the new faces," said Purnell. "We're excited to play an exhibition game versus Lewis. They're a good program and another measuring stick."
What Purnell is looking for the most is improvement from week to week for his team.
"We just want to see if we can progress from last week," Oliver said. "This is a team that beat us by a couple of points last year. It's a quality program. We'll find out some things. If we don't do some things well, they will expose us. But, I like to think we're a little further along right now than we were at this time last year."
So in what ways is DePaul better than a year ago?
"We just got better players," said Purnell. "It's that simple. We got better players. We got more athletes and then we've got experience. There's three ways right there. So we should be further along."
Kelly believes that they won't be taking Lewis lightly again.
"I just think we're more focused," said Jeremiah. "We're not looking past Lewis. We're taking this game as serious as a real game on our schedule. Right now we're getting ready to play Lewis. We're not looking past them. We just want to focus on this game right here."
Last year, Brandon Young was in his second game of his career when he faced Lewis. He scored 10 points in the contest. This time around he has matured as a ballplayer.
"Just being a better leader and leading my team," remarked Young. "Teaching them what to go through and how to react to certain situations and make sure they know what's going on on the court.
If DePaul is to win this one, they will have to defend better on the perimeter. Last year, the Blue Demons allowed Lewis to shoot 44.4% from beyond the arc. Chris McClellan led all scorers with 17 points and was four of five from three-point territory.
McClellan is back for his senior season with the Flyers. Four other seniors will be prominent in the rotation for Lewis – big man Marty Strus, forwards Matt Toth, Lonnie Lawrence, and Justin Jarosz. David Bryant, a junior shooting guard from Batavia, and sophomore Nick Valla, a transfer from Missouri State will also get playing time.
Two freshmen are expected to make an impact for the Flyers this season – Julian Lewis from Homewood-Flossmoor and Riverside-Brookfield's Ryan Jackson. Both chose to play at Division II Lewis despite having offers to play at Division I schools.
One new face on the sidelines for the Flyers this season is former Loyola assistant coach Adam DeMong. DeMong replaces assistant coach Condric "Old School" Sanders who is now an assistant at Florida A&M.
- As of this writing, freshman forward Jamee Crockett has not yet been cleared by doctors to play in Saturday's game. Crockett has been sitting out practice due to dizziness.
- Donnavan Kirk, a transfer from Miami, will also not be able to compete in this game as he sits out his transfer year. Kirk will be eligible to suit up for the Blue Demons on Thanksgiving Day.
- Deontae Hawkins, a 2012 combo forward from Dayton, Ohio, will be on campus this weekend for his official visit to DePaul. See the following story for more information… Hawkins to Visit DePaul
# FULL NAME POS. HT. WT. YEAR HOMETOWN / HIGHSCHOOL PREVIOUS SCHOOL
4 Gabe Williams G 5-9 165 Fr. Chicago, Ill. / Farragut
5 Jeff Jarosz G 6-1 160 Fr. Lyons, Ill. / Morton
10 Chris McClellan G 6-1 165 Sr. Buffalo Grove, Ill. / Wheeling
12 David Bryant G/F 6-4 185 Jr. Batavia, Ill. / Batavia
14 Richard Gugliotta G 6-2 200 Fr. Bicknell, Ind. / North Knox
22 Ryan Jackson G 6-2 200 Fr. Bolingbrook, Ill. / Riverside-Brookfield
23 Julian Lewis F 6-5 205 Fr. Flossmoor, Ill. / Homewood-Flossmoor
24 Nick Valla G 6-2 185 So. Tinley Park, Ill. / Marist Missouri State
30 David Niggins F 6-6 205 Fr. Naperville, Ill. / Naperville Central
32 Justin Jarosz F 6-6 205 Sr. Homer Glen, Ill. / Lockport
33 Mantas Dubauskas F 6-5 200 So. Naperville, Ill. / St. Joseph
40 Lonnie Lawrence F 6-4 215 Sr. Bloomington, Ill. / Bloomington
44 Matt Toth F/C 6-8 245 Sr. Orland Park, Ill. / Sandburg
50 Marty Strus C 6-10 240 Sr. Hickory Hills, Ill. / Stagg
52 Ryan Herron F/C 6-6 205 Fr. Yorkville, Ill. / Yorkville
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