DePaul men’s basketball faces third conference loss against Creighton 81-62

DePaul did a good job keeping two-time All-American Doug McDermott in check Tuesday night. It still wasn’t enough. Creighton pulled away at the end of the game after maintaining a steady cushion for most of the second half to deal the Blue Demons their third consecutive conference loss, 81-62.

Brandon Young led DePaul (8-8. 0-3 Big East) with 24 points and five assists and the Jays moved to 13-2 despite a somewhat pedestrian 19 points from McDermott, who entered the game averaging 24.7 per game.

The first half was a physical battle that made both teams seem evenly matched. The first 12 minutes were back and forth as both DePaul and Creighton traded baskets possession after possession. While the Blue Demons never got into a rhythm offensively, it was clear the Purnell’s squad had made stopping McDermott their top priority.

Cleveland Melvin and numerous other Demons bodied McDermott up at every opportunity and didn’t allow the All-American any room to operate. He didn’t score his first field goal until there was 7:16 left in the half, and went into the locker room with just seven points on two for eight shooting. He also hit a layup at the buzzer after DePaul nearly took control of the ball, giving the Jays a five-point lead at the break.

Melvin paced the Demons with seven points in the half and the Jays immediately began to double team him as the second half got underway. The Demons struggled to generate offense in their half court sets and an Avery Dingman four-point play with 15 minutes remaining gave the Jays their biggest lead to that point, 51-38.

With around six minutes remaining, DePaul made its best run of the game. Tommy Hamilton scored six straight points and Brandon Young completed a three-point play to bring the Demons to within 62-56. But the momentum stayed with Creighton after DePaul failed to capitalize on two possessions that went deep into the shot clock.