With or without Cleveland Melvin, the Blue Demons continue to stink.
Since the departure of Melvin was officially announced, DePaul dropped two straight games this past week, losing to No. 6 Villanova and unranked Providence by a combined total of 48 points.
On Saturday, Providence’s Bryce Cotton scored 22 points to lead the Friars at home in an 84-61 rout as the Blue Demons’ (10- 15, 2-11 Big East) losing streak rose to eight.
Cotton, who scored 28 points in the teams’ first meeting, was 7-14 from the field and had six assists. Five other Friars scored at least 10 points and Providence was in control the whole game.
Providence (17-9, 7-6) jumped out to an early lead and DePaul trailed 49-26 at halftime. Brandon Young led the Blue Demons with 18 points. Sandi Marcius added 16 points and Billy Garrett Jr. scored 10.
“I just thought we didn’t get in a funk in the first half,” head coach Oliver Purnell said. “I thought our energy defensively wasn’t there and offensively we weren’t real smooth. We rushed some shots and we just didn’t have a good first half at all.”
In the second half, DePaul went on a 14-2 run to cut Providence’s lead to 14 (72- 58) with 5:44 left. Providence, however, closed the game with a 12-3 run.
The Blue Demons struggled to shoot the ball from 3-point range, converting just two of 13 attempts. They shot 40.4 percent on the day.
Providence finished shooting 53 percent (27-51) on the day and 43 percent from beyond the arc.
Against Villanova (22-2, 10-1) DePaul suffered through another blowout on Wednesday at Allstate Arena. Villanova’s sharp passing led the Wildcats to shooting 54 percent and beat DePaul, 87-62.
The Wildcats shot an astonishing 57 percent from 3-point range, including draining 8 threes in the first half.
“They really enjoy playing together,” Villanova head coach Jay Wright said. “This year right from the start, even from the beginning of summer, these guys really like making the extra pass. We’ve got five guys who could really pass.”
Young had another strong game, scoring 27 points and grabbing six rebounds. He took on the bulk of scoring in Melvin’s absence.
“We just weren’t focused for 40 minutes,” Young said. “We didn’t give enough effort on defense. We can’t just keep playing offense. It’s tough.”
It has been more than a month since the Blue Demons have won a game, last beating St. John’s on Jan. 14.
“Any team in our league that loses its leading scorer and rebounder, it’s going to affect them,” Purnell said. “We just have to keep going and finding a way to win.”