Melvin leads men’s basketball over Chicago State 102-95

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ROSEMONT, Ill. — The DePaul men’s basketball team was pushed to the brink by a rival Chicago opponent for the second straight game, but pulled out the 102-95 victory over the Chicago State squad Saturday afternoon at Allstate Arena.

Cleveland Melvin scored a career-high 30 points, grabbed eight rebounds and was one of four Blue Demons (6-3) who scored in double figures. Brandon Young rebounded from a rough first half of only one point to finish the game with 21 points, seven assists and five rebounds.

“Coaches talked to me [at halftime], told me I was playing soft and I needed to pick it up,” Young said. “I’m a leader so I can’t let my teammates see me like that.”

DePaul led Chicago State (0-9) by as much as 17 points midway through the first half. But the Cougars chipped away at that lead eventually cutting it to a two-point deficit early in the second half.

“I’m just not real pleased with our performance today, at all,” said head coach Oliver Purnell. “I thought our guys came out with some decent energy early, but that faded pretty quickly.”

Jeremiah Kelly and Jamee Crockett, making his second consecutive start, were the other two Blue Demons scoring double digits with 19 and 11 points respectively.

“He [Crockett] shows his athleticism, which is one of the main reasons he’s in there [the starting lineup],” Purnell said. “I’m really pleased with his progress.”

The 102 points is the first time DePaul has scored over 100 since last season, when they scored 114 against Chicago State in the season opener.

The Blue Demon’s defense, however, was definitely an issue. The 95 points allowed to Chicago State was a season-high for the Cougars and a season-high given up for the Blue Demons.

Chicago State outshot DePaul from the field (50 percent to 46) and the free throw line and had five players in double-figures, led by Matt Samuels’ 21 points.

“We were outrebounded [49-38] and the scouting report, it’s like we didn’t give them one,” Purnell commented.

Melvin, although pleased with his career-high in points, knows that this game needs to be put in the past.

“It feels great [the career-high] but I’m ready to move onto the next game. I’m looking forward to the rest of the non-conference and getting ready for the Big East.

DePaul’s next game is Wednesday night at Norhern Illinois. Purnell is promising one thing between now and then.

“We’ll have some tough practices between now and Northern Illinois. We’ll play some basketball, it might not be at Northern Illinois but there will be tough basketball.”