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DePaul bounces back to beat Oregon State

The SportsXchange

ROSEMONT, Ill. -- DePaul coach Oliver Purnell had seen quite enough after two tournament losses last week in Kansas City.

"We had a couple of not-so-pleasant days of practice -- probably for them -- but we clearly need it," Purnell said. "It paid off some tonight with improvement in several areas."

Cleveland Melvin led a balanced attack with 23 points as the Blue Demons broke out of a two-game losing streak with a 93-81 victory over Oregon State on Sunday afternoon at Allstate Arena.

"It was a nice bounce-back win for us," Purnell said. "Our offensive control for the bulk of the game was the key for us and we never really got in any kind of hole."

Credit DePaul point guard Billy Garrett Jr. with having the biggest impact.

"They threw the kitchen sink at us in terms of multiple defenses, changing defenses, and (Garrett) kind of kept us settled out there," Purnell said. "He got the ball to Cleve (Melvin) and Brandon (Young) in great spots to score and got our bigs involved as well."

After leading 43-39 at halftime, the Blue Demons (4-3) quickly built a double-digit, second-half lead and never let the Beavers (3-2) get any closer than seven points the rest of the way.

"I thought we'd put on a better show than we did," Oregon State coach Craig Robinson said. "I didn't think we came out with enough energy at all. ... DePaul did a fantastic job and we knew given what they had been through that they'd be ready to play.

"We didn't match their energy at all and let the kid (Garrett) do whatever he wanted."

Joining Melvin in double figures was Young with 21, while Garrett and Sandi Marcius had 15 apiece and Tommy Hamilton IV added 14.

Garrett also had 10 assists for his first career double-double.

Devon Collier scored a game-high 32 points while Roberto Nelson added 19 as Oregon State saw a three-game winning streak snapped.

DePaul extended its four-point halftime advantage to 15 within the first 10 minutes of the second half.

The Blue Demons trailed only at the game's outset and used an early 9-0 run to open an 11-4 lead by the 16:38 mark. The advantage hit nine at 22-13 about 3 1/2 minutes later after Hamilton hit two free throws.

Young's three-point play with 7:29 left in the half gave DePaul its biggest lead to that point, 33-21, and Melvin's jam a minute later maintained a 12-point advantage at 35-23.

But the Beavers rallied to a 39-39 tie after back-to-back baskets from Collier, who closed the half with 22 points.

DePaul reclaimed the first-half lead at 42-39 on Garrett's 3-pointer and entered halftime with a four-point advantage.

Notes: Sunday's game was the first meeting in 68 years between DePaul and Oregon State. The Blue Demons claimed a 59-40 victory at the old Chicago Stadium on Dec. 21, 1945, with a reigning National Invitation Tournament championship team headlined by legend George Mikan. ... The game also marked the 34th anniversary of DePaul's first home game outside the Chicago city limits -- a 74-56 victory over John Stockton and Gonzaga on Dec. 1, 1980, at the suburban Rosemont Horizon (now Allstate Arena). ... DePaul guard Charles McKinney sat out Sunday's game with a one-game suspension for an unspecified team rule violation. ... DePaul resumes play Friday at home against Arizona State while Oregon State hosts Arkansas-Pine Bluff next Saturday. ... The Beavers came in with two players averaging better than 20 points per game -- guard Roberto Nelson (27.0 points) and forward Devon Collier (20.7) -- and shooting 59.2 percent over their last three contests. ... Oregon State is 6-13 all-time against current Big East Conference members.
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