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UPDATED: DePaul men’s basketball comes from behind to win 81-72 vs. Wright State

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[Updated Monday, Nov. 18, 10:30 a.m. CST]

After many games last season where the DePaul men’s basketball team squandered leads and couldn’t come from behind, the Blue Demons finally pulled one out.

Led by Cleveland Melvin’s 23 points and 13 rebounds, the Blue Demons sparked a second half run to beat Wright State, 81- 72. DePaul closed the game on a 20-4 run to improve to 2-1.

DePaul trailed at the half 35-33, thanks to 15 turnovers. However, the team came out more disciplined after the half and committed just four turnovers.

“We played last six minutes of the game flawlessly,” Head coach Oliver Purnell said. “Our guys didn’t get frustrated and just kept plugging. I’m very pleased to get out of here with a win.”

The Blue Demons chipped away until they finally got their first lead in the second half with a Brandon Young jumper with to go up 69-68 with 4:51 left. Before then, DePaul struggled to get the lead and was down by as many as seven.

Things started to turnaround, though, when the Blue Demons switched into tighter man coverage on defense. DePaul allowed just one field goal in the last seven minutes.

“Cleveland got every defensive rebound and that’s part of defense,” Purnell said. “Good things happened because we were bigger and stronger.”

Purnell also said that he was pleased with the way guards Young and Billy Garrett Jr. played. The two were instrumental in feeding the ball inside and setting up shots.

Feeding the ball inside worked, letting the Blue Demons play physical and get to the foul line. The team finished with 36 free throw attempts and knocked down 28 of them for a 77 percent shooting clip on the night.

The guards also helped divvy up the scoring, allowing four Blue Demons to finish with double digits. Young ended up with 14 points and Garrett Jr. ended up with 12, while forwards Tommy Hamilton IV and Melvin combined for 36 (13 for Hamilton and 23 for Melvin).

Yet it was Melvin who took over in the second half. The senior forward scored 16 points in the half and grabbed nine rebounds. Not only did he fill up the stat sheet, Melvin also earned an appearance on SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays with an electrifying dunk. Melvin surpassed Sammy Meiia as the ninth scoring leader in DePaul history and 26th in all-time rebounding list.

“We would love to send (Melvin) and Brandon out on a positive note,” Purnell said. “It’s good to see (Melvin’s) play, even though we’re moving him around some, comfortable out there. I’m happy for him.

“He was the man out there,” he said. “Hopefully there’s more to come.”

The Blue Demons are now 17-3 when the team scores more than 80 points under Oliver Purnell.

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UPDATED: DePaul men’s basketball comes from behind to win 81-72 vs. Wright State