DePaul vs. Texas-Pan American Game Preview

The DePaul Blue Demons face the Broncs of Texas-Pan American in the 2011-12 season opener for both teams at McGrath-Phillips Arena on Friday night. In this report, we hear from Coach Oliver Purnell and senior Jeremiah Kelly as the Demons prepare for the Broncs.

Key Information

DePaul Blue Demons vs. UTPA Broncs – Friday, November 11th, 8:00 p.m. Central – McGrath-Phillips Arena, Chicago, Illinois

Note: The game is immediately following the 19th ranked DePaul women's team opener vs. St. Mary's in the Maggie Dixon Classic which begins at 6 p.m.

Television – None

Radio – WSCR AM 670

Streaming Audio Audio - DePaul Streaming Audio Link

Streaming Video Video - DePaul Streaming Video Link

Game Tracker Game Tracker - DePaul Game Tracker Link Chat Room Link

Chat Room

Follow us on Twitter

WeAreDePaul on Twitter

UTPA Athletics

UTPA Basketball

Game Preview

The Blue Demons open their 2011-12 season on Friday night. With the recent return of freshman Jamee Crockett to the court, DePaul coach Oliver Purnell figures to have nine scholarship players in uniform for the matchup with the UTPA Broncs.

"It's our opening game and we want to win it," said Purnell. "That's why we play these games. That's why we worked hard all summer long, including here in the preseason. We've been looking forward to this night. We're going out with the idea to try to get our first win by doing what we do – pressure defense, pressure offense, and really having a defensive emphasis. Then at the same time making sure we're attacking on offense, because I think (UTPA) is small like we are. I think they're going to pressure us and run the basketball. So it should be an exciting contest."

DePaul is coming off a 70-63 exhibition win over Division II Lewis. Cleveland Melvin led the Blue Demons with 33 points and eight rebounds in that contest.

"We felt great to get out of that game unscathed," said Purnell. "I thought we had to play well to win in the last six minutes of the game. That's always an important part of the game. We got some control and the lead. I thought our guys did a good job of holding on to it. I thought our pressure wore on them."

The Blue Demons took some early jumpshots against Lewis' sagging man-to-man defense in that contest. That's something that they're working at improving on.

"We just want to stay more focused and stay on top of what we need to do," said DePaul senior Jeremiah Kelly. "We got off to a slow start in the game and we shot a lot of jumpshots. We want to get the ball inside more. That's what we're focusing on this week in practice – inside-out."

"We took a lot of shots and also missed a lot of shots," said Kelly. "We also want to stay aggressive. That was one of the off days where we can't just rely on our offense, we've got to pick it up on defense. We've got to focus on our defense."

Friday night marks the beginning of year two of Purnell's reign at DePaul. At his previous coaching stops Purnell's teams saw marked improvement from year one to year two. DePaul fans can expect the same this season.

"I've seen that kind of progress from year one to year two," said Purnell. "I think the most important thing that you can do in a turnaround situation is to get better. You get better each and every year and then get better from the beginning of the season to the end of the season. If this team stays on that course, then we've got a shot. Now we need to stay healthy. We've had some setbacks in that area, but none of those take away from our outlook for the year, our optimism, or our goals for the season."

UTPA is led by third-year coach Ryan Marks. This will be Marks' second trip to McGrath-Phillips Arena. In 2005, he brought his Division II St. Edward's (Texas) team to Lincoln Park to face the Blue Demons in an exhibition game.

Marks is no stranger to the Chicago area. His mother still lives in Chicago. Marks served as an assistant coach at NIU for six seasons.

Marks is 12-52 in his first two seasons at UTPA. The Broncs were predicted in the pre-season to finish fourth in the Great West conference, however the league only has six schools.

Out of all of DePaul's opponents this season, UTPA has the lowest RPI from last year at 343.

The Broncs are coming off a 96-52 exhibition romp over Mexican school Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon.

Ruben Cabrera, a junior from Puerto Rico, notched a double-double of 24 points and 12 rebounds in that game.

The Broncs were also led by Jesus Delgado and Earl Jefferson with 10 points apiece.

Junior guard Aaron Urbanus sat out the Broncs exhibition game with a knee injury, but is attempting to be ready for Friday night's game.

UTPA will stay in town after Friday's game since they face the Northwestern Wildcats in Evanston on Monday night.

UTPA Roster


Kieondre Arkwright Guard Sr. Flint, Michigan

Ruben Cabrera Forward Jr. Bayamon, Puerto Rico

Josh Cleveland Forward So. Houston, Texas

Jesus M Delgado Guard Jr. El Paso, Texas / Montwood High School

Earl Jefferson Forward Jr. Barstow, CA / Barstow High School

Jared Maree Guard Sr. Houston, TX / Cesar Chavez H.S.

Enique Mason Center So. Indianapolis, Indiana

Jaymeson Moten Guard Fr. Spicer, MN / New London - Spicer High School

Julio Oyervides Guard So. McAllen, Texas / McAllen High School

Brandon Provost Guard Jr. Katy, TX

Josh Sanchez Guard Fr. Corpus Christi, Texas / Carroll High School

Neo Sanchez Guard Jr. Pharr, Texas

Aaron Urbanus Guard Jr. Austin, TX / Bowie H.S.

Nick Weiermiller Guard Sr. Elmira, NY / Elmira Free Academy

Michael Yahnke Forward Fr. Delano, MN / Delano High School

We Are DePaul Top Stories