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By Jack McCarthy, The Sports Xchange November 16, 2013 4:56 PM
ROSEMONT, Ill. -- Forward Cleveland Melvin collected a game-high 23 points as DePaul used a dominating stretch drive to claim an 81-72 non-conference victory over Wright State on Saturday at Allstate Arena. Melvin scored 16 second-half points and closed with a game-high 13 rebounds for the Blue Demons (2-1). Guard Brandon Young scored 14 points, center Tommy Hamilton IV had 13, and guard Billy Garrett Jr. added 12 in the first meeting between the programs. The Raiders (1-2) managed only one field goal in the final eight minutes, while DePaul outscored Wright State 20-4 run to take command and secure the victory. Saturday's game was part of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic tournament, which concludes next week in Kansas City. Wright State led, 35-33, at halftime and maintained an edge that fluctuated between one and seven points through the first 15:45 of the half. But a 10-0 DePaul run turned the tables, as Young gave the Blue Demons their first lead of the half at 69-68 with a jumper with 4:16 left in regulation. Young added a fast break layup 22 seconds later for a 71-68 advantage. DePaul had 15 first half turnovers, but only four in the second half. Wright State scored eight unanswered points in the opening two minutes, but then went cold for the next six while DePaul scored 10 straight. Guard Matt Vest's 3-pointer gave the Raiders an 11-8 lead at the 12- minute mark. DePaul tied the score, 11-11, on center Hamilton's 3-point play and the game briefly settled into a back-and-forth routine. Vest's fast break layup with 9:15 left in the half gave the Raiders a 17-14 lead and kept the Blue Demons at arm's length until the final 85 seconds. That's when forward Jamee Crockett hit back-to-back 3-pointers for a temporary 33-32 DePaul lead. But forward Cole Darling of Wright State was fouled on a layup with 8.7 seconds left in the half and added a free throw as the Raiders claimed a 35-33 halftime lead. Both teams were coming off losses last week, as Wright State fell at Georgetown, 88-70, while DePaul suffered a 75-68 loss to Southern Mississippi on Wednesday. Wright State continues CBE play at home on Sunday against Manchester. DePaul has a non-conference game on Tuesday at Milwaukee and steps back into CBE play Nov. 25 against No. 16 Wichita State in Kansas City. NOTES: Forward Cleveland Melvin moved past Sammy Mejia (2003-07) into ninth place on DePaul's all-time scoring list with a rebound basket late in Saturday's first half. Melvin became the ninth Blue Demon to pass 1,500 points, finishing the day with 1,514. ... DePaul ran its streak of consecutive games with a 3-pointer to 614 on Tommy Hamilton IV's shot with 16:57 left in the opening half. ... The Raiders are picked second in the Horizon League in a preseason poll, but received more first place votes (22) than league favorite Green Bay (21). ... Reigning team MVP A.J. Pacher played in his 100th career game for Wright State on Saturday.