DePaul is off to their best start in twelve years. What was different tonight was that the Blue Demons did it with a solid effort with their halfcourt defense.
DePaul usually relies on their fullcourt defense and creates turnovers, but tonight it was all in the halfcourt against Cal Poly's patient offense. The Blue Demons held Cal Poly (8-4) to 37.7% from the floor and just 17.6% from three point range.
"I thought our halfcourt defense was maybe the best it's been," said DePaul coach Oliver Purnell.
The Blue Demons held the Mustangs scoreless for almost a 10 minute stretch in the first half while going on a 13-0 run.
Super sophomores Cleveland Melvin and Brandon Young led all scorers with 16 points apiece. Freshman Jamee Crockett added 10 points.
The Mustangs came into the game with a reputation as a stong, defensive-oriented team.
"I thought I saw a lot of growth out of our guys tonight to play through that physicality," said Purnell.
The game wasn't without any tense moments. Melvin missed two free throws with 23 seconds remaining and the Blue Demons holding a 61-58 lead.
"I was just worrying about making my shots from the free throw line," said Melvin. "Obviously I missed two, but I kept my head in it. My teammates told me just to focus on the next two."
That's exactly what Melvin did as he then made two free throws with five seconds left to secure a 63-58 lead and the win for the Blue Demons.
Cal Poly did a good job on the boards and had two players finish with double-doubles. David Hanson scored 13 points and pulled down 11 boards. Will Taylor added 11 points and 10 rebounds in a losing effort for the Mustangs.
The Blue Demons now take a break for the Holidays and return to Allstate Arena for their first Big East conference game of the season against number one ranked Syracuse on New Year's Day.
- Brian Scalabrine of the Chicago Bulls was in the house for tonight's game.
DePaul Takes Down Cal Poly with Defense
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