DePaul Blue Demons vs. Loyola Ramblers – Wednesday, December 7th, 7:00 p.m. Central – Gentile Arena, Chicago, Illinois
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DePaul (4-3) is coming off two straight losses at home where they've given up first half deficits of 17 points or more. Going on the road to nearby city rival Loyola doesn't make things much easier. Add in the fact that the Blue Demons have a turnaround of less than 48 hours between Monday's 87-76 loss to Milwaukee and this game, and you've got quite a challenge.
Loyola (1-6) is acting as though this is the biggest game of the year for the Ramblers. The Blue Demons haven't played a game in Rogers Park since 1980 and that was at old Alumni Gym.
This is the second game of the season for the Ramblers in the newly renovated Gentile Arena. They've been promoting this game as an opportunity to "Exorcise the Demons".
Rumor also has it that Loyola will be raising their 1963 NCAA Championship banner in a pre-game ceremony on Wednesday night. They've even brought in Jim Cornelison to sing the national anthem for this game.
It's a rivalry that DePaul has owned in recent years. The Ramblers haven't won a game in the series since 1989.
Loyola will have their crowd fired up for this game under first year coach Porter Moser and DePaul will need to match that intensity.
"Maybe I can do a better job of getting across to our guys of what we're about to face," said DePaul coach Oliver Purnell. "This is a big game for them. They've got the renovated arena. We beat them last year. They've got a new coach and a lot of energy. That's what we're going to be facing. If we're not ready for it, they're going to knock us back on our heels."
Coming off of Monday's loss to Milwaukee, a Horizon League team that also beat Loyola last week, Purnell doesn't mind the short turnaround.
"I kind of like the fact that it's a quick turnaround," said Purnell. "We don't have time to wallow in it. We're going to have a tough practice (on Tuesday) and then we're going to go over there and see if we can get it."
One bright spot for the Blue Demons on Monday night was the play of freshman Jamee Crockett. Crockett finished with 10 points on five of seven shooting, three rebounds, and three steals in just 20 minutes of play. Purnell plans to reward Crockett by starting him against the Ramblers.
When Loyola lost point guard Courtney Stanley for the season to an ACL injury, many thought that would be it for the Ramblers, but sophomore Denzel Brito has stepped up in Stanley's absence. Brito is scoring 8.7 points and four assists per game.
Loyola's star is 6-8 junior forward Ben Averkamp, who is averaging 11.9 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. Averkamp was named to the Horizon League preseason second team.
Walt Gibler was named Horizon League Sixth man of the year last season. The 6-7 forward is now a starter and is averaging 11.3 ppg this year.
Former Munster, Indiana guard Joe Crisman has been a pleasant surprise for the Ramblers stepping into the starting lineup straight away as a freshman and averaging nine points per game.
The Blue Demons will need to focus on ratcheting up their intensity and level of effort for 40 minutes. As long as they do that and pressure for a full 40 minutes, i.e. play DePaul Basketball, then they can make the seven mile trip back to Lincoln Park with a victory in their pockets.
The Last Time
On December 18th, 2010 at Allstate Arena, DePaul scored 24 points off of 20 Loyola turnovers to take down their city rivals 81-74.
The Blue Demons did it with balanced offense and had five players finish in double-figures.
DePaul had no answer for Loyola guard Geoff McCammon, who finished with a career-high 31 points.
Tony Freeland led the way for the Blue Demons with 16 points off the bench, but it was the play of freshman forward Cleveland Melvin that was most impressive. Melvin scored 13 points on six of 10 from the floor and blocked three shots.
Senior Mike Stovall added 13 points. Junior guard Jeremiah Kelly contributed with 12 points and went two for three from beyond the arc. Junior big man Krys Faber chipped in with 10 points and eight rebounds before fouling out with 44 seconds left in the game.
No. Name Ht. Wt. Pos. Year Hometown/High School/Last College
24 Ben Averkamp 6-8 235 F JR Germantown, Wis./Germantown
44 John Benkoske 6-9 237 C SR Oshkosh, Wis./Oshkosh West
25 Derrick Boone 6-3 180 G SO Minneapolis, Minn./Minneapolis South
0 Denzel Brito 6-2 180 G SO Wareham, Mass./Lawrence Academy
45 Bill Clark 6-4 207 G SO Valparaiso, Ind./Mount Carmel/Indiana
52 Adam Cooper 6-7 207 F SR Ross, Calif./Redwood/College of Marin
5 Joe Crisman 6-4 195 G FR Munster, Ind./Munster
13 London Dokubo 6-0 165 G FR Schaumburg, Ill./Conant
34 Jonathon Gac 6-9 220 F SO Chicago, Ill./Mount Carmel
33 Walt Gibler 6-7 230 F SR Cincinnati, Ohio/St. Xavier
2 Jordan Hicks 6-6 210 G/F SR Rochester, Minn./Rochester Mayo
12 Devin Hill 6-9 230 F SR Stamford, Conn./St. Luke's/DePaul
14 Chim Kadima 6-4 190 G SO Milwaukee, Wis./Milwaukee Lutheran
1 Cully Payne 6-1 180 G JR Schaumburg, Ill./Schaumburg/Iowa
10 Courtney Stanley 6-1 173 G SR Philadelphia, Pa./Roman Catholic
32 Christian Thomas 6-5 207 G/F FR St. Louis, Mo./Clayton
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