After losing the last two games at home due to first half deficits, DePaul (5-3) took Loyola (1-7) behind the woodshed in the first half and brought a 47-17 lead into the locker room at intermission. It was the fewest points allowed by a DePaul team since Oliver Purnell arrived in Lincoln Park.
"That was one of the best halves I've had a team play defensively," said Purnell.
DePaul never trailed in the contest. The Blue Demons shot 55.9% from the floor in the first half.
Even walkon Edwind McGhee got in on the act scoring four points off the bench for the Blue Demons.
The Blue Demons were firing on all cylinders in the first half. DePaul senior guard Jeremiah Kelly credited the team's energy to the rousing rendition of the national anthem to start the game.
The Ramblers then rallied in the second half.
DePaul appeared frustrated by Loyola's 1-3-1 zone in the second stanza and only shot 23.8% from the field.
"We got really tentative against the 1-3-1 zone," said Purnell "As a result they made some runs. Clearly we were in control, but not a comfortable control I'd like to be in given our first half."
The closest the Ramblers were able to come was within nine points with 28.9 seconds left on a layup by Denzel Brito, but by then it was too late.
"We kind of got lackadaisical in the second half," said Kelly. "That's something we have to work on to stay focused for a full forty minutes. We weren't as aggressive as we were in the first half. They played to their style and tempo."
The Blue Demons had balanced scoring and had four players finish in double-figures. Moses Morgan led the way with 13 points off the bench. Krys Faber contributed 12 points. Jamee Crockett and Jeremiah Kelly chipped in with 11 apiece.
It was his Crocket's first collegiate start. Jamee brought energy on both offense and defense before fouling out late in the game.
"Athletically, clearly he's one of our best athletes, if not our best athlete," said Purnell. "So, we wanted him on the floor. He's progressing. He's coming along. In our system, he's clearly going to be a very fine player."
Loyola's Walt Gibler led all scorers with 29 points. Freshman Joe Crisman added 14 points in the losing effort for the Ramblers.
The Blue Demons head back to Allstate Arena on Saturday for a non-conference matchup with Chicago State.
- The Blue Demons were able to maintain their dominance over the Ramblers. Loyola hasn't won a game in the series since 1989.
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