DePaul Blue Demons vs. South Florida Golden Bulls – March 3, 2007 – 1:00 p.m. CST – Allstate Arena – Rosemont, Illinois
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The DePaul Blue Demons men's basketball team closes out their regular season with the South Florida Golden Bulls on Saturday. DePaul hopes to finish the Big East schedule at 9-7 as they head into the conference tournament and keep alive their hopes of a NCAA tournament bid.
South Florida though will be playing their final game of the season. At 3-12 in league play, USF will not be among the 12 teams to advance to the conference tournament at Madison Square Garden next week. Since this will be their last game, expect the Bulls to play loose as they have nothing to lose.
USF is coming off of a 77-72 loss to Providence on Wednesday in Tampa. Junior center Kentrell Gransberry led the way for the Bulls with 25 points and 14 rebounds. It was USF's sixth straight loss. It also was a rough night for Purdue transfer Melvin Buckley, originally from Thornwood High near Chicago, as he went 0 for 11 from behind the arc.
Saturday will be the senior's final trip back to his hometown.
While USF has been an improved team at home this season, they are winless on the road in Big East play this year. The Blue Demons and Bulls last matched up on February 17th in Tampa. DePaul came away with a 75-62 victory despite forward Wilson Chandler being limited with foul trouble. In that game, senior Sammy Mejia and junior Draelon Burns came up big for DePaul with 18 and 16 points respectively.
DePaul had difficulty with USF's frontcourt which outrebounded the Blue Demons on the glass 33 to 27. South Florida had three players in double figures in their frontcourt. Senior McHugh Mattis led USF with 18 points, while Gransberry added 15 and Buckley contributed with 10.
"Where they really come at you is in the frontcourt," DePaul coach Jerry Wainwright told WSCR radio. "The have the young man Melvin Buckley, who is a transfer from Purdue, and is one of the better players in the league. McHugh Mattis is at the other forward, he's either third or fourth in the country in blocked shots, an incredible athlete. He's a little undersized, but very fast. He really gets up off the ground. They've been really helped in the middle this year by a big bodied youngster. Their frontcourt can go with anybody in the league. What you have to try to do there is get those guys involved enough where they have to guard you and maybe get some fouls on them and get into their bench where they're a little bit more inexperienced."
Saturday is Senior Day and will mark the last performances for seniors Keith Butler, Marcus Heard, Sammy Mejia, and Lorenzo Thompson in front of the home crowd.
With a win, DePaul could finish as high as the sixth seed in the Big East tournament depending on the outcome of other games. If Mejia can repeat the type of performance that he had in Tampa and Chandler can stay out of foul trouble, look for the Demons to move on to 9-7.
South Florida Roster
No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Yr. Hometown (Prev School)
1 Gransberry, Kentrell C 6-9 270 Jr. Baton Rouge, LA (LSU) (Woodlawn HS)
2 Richardson, Melvyn F 6-7 235 Sr. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (Lon Morris JC) (Liceo Union Panamericano HS)
3 Buckley, Melvin F 6-7 215 Sr. Chicago, IL (Purdue) (Thornwood HS)
10 Capko, Chris G 6-1 185 Sr. Lakeland, FL (Florida) (Kathleen HS)
11 Rubens, Jared G/F 6-5 185 Fr. Miami, FL (Krop HS)
12 Curry, Dante G 6-4 175 Fr. Kissimmee, FL (Poinciana HS)
15 Mattis, McHugh F 6-6 190 Sr. North Lauderdale, FL (St. Petersburg College) (Coconut Creek HS)
20 Lovett, Eddie G 6-0 180 Jr. Riviera Beach, FL (Suncoast Community HS)
21 Saaka, Adamu "Amu" G/F 6-6 195 Fr. Decatur, GA (Columbia HS)
22 Bozeman, Solomon G 6-0 165 Fr. Magnolia, AR (Magnolia HS)
23 Verdejo, Jesus G 6-4 205 So. Carolina, Puerto Rico (Arizona) (The Winchendon School)
24 Howard, Chris G 6-3 200 RFr. Lorton, VA (Friendly HS)
32 Williams, Aris F 6-9 235 So. Columbia, MD (Valparaiso) (Georgetown Prep)
33 Torres, Bobby G 6-0 170 So. Fort Myers, FL (Bishop Verot HS)
34 Cann, Zaronn F 6-6 250 RFr. Seffner, FL (Brandon HS)
Holmes, Aaron G/F 6-5 185 Fr. St. Petersburg, FL (St. Petersburg Catholic)
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