DePaul 81, Florida Atlantic 70

Paul LaTour, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

ROSEMONT, Ill. -- Senior forward Sandi Marcius turned in a career performance with 19 points and 12 rebounds to power DePaul past Florida Atlantic 81-70 in a non-conference game Thursday at Allstate Arena.
Forward Cleveland Melvin finished with 19 points and six rebounds, and guard Brandon Young added 12 points and six assists as the Blue Demons (5-4) won for the second time in their past five games.
A 30-point effort from guard Pablo Bertone, the reigning Conference USA Player of the Week, wasn't enough for the Owls, who had their two-game winning streak snapped. Guard Jackson Trapp added 17 points for FAU (3-7).
Two games after scoring a then-career-best 15 points against Oregon State, Marcius, a transfer from Purdue, topped himself with his first double-double. Most of his points came in the first half as DePaul weathered a cold start from the floor that led to an eight-point deficit.
The Blue Demons opened the second half building on the momentum they gained to close out the first half. They led throughout the second half, turning a one-point advantage into an 11-point victory.
Guard Billy Garrett increased DePaul's lead to 58-52, ending a scoring drought that lasted more than three minutes. A jump shot by Young pushed DePaul's lead to 60-52 a short time later.
The Blue Demons had trouble putting the Owls away, though. A Trapp 3-pointer cut the margin to 62-58 with 7:20 remaining.
Melvin answered with five consecutive points, making it 67-58 when he drilled a 3-pointer with 5:36 to go. After a basket by FAU guard D'Andre Johnson, Melvin restored the Blue Demons' nine-point lead with a dunk off a Young assist with just over four minutes left.
Garrett pushed the lead to 74-64 with a 3-pointer about 90 seconds later.
After trailing for most of the first half, the Blue Demons went to the break leading 38-37. DePaul outscored Florida Atlantic 20-11 in the final seven minutes, with Melvin's tap-in of his own miss just ahead of the horn capping the spurt.
Marcius, who entered the game averaging 5.0 points, provided the Blue Demons a presence underneath that got them back into the game. The 6-foot-10 senior from Nedelisce, Croatia, finished the half with a team-high 13 points on 5-for-7 shooting from the field.
Poor shooting plagued the Blue Demons in the opening 12 minutes, allowing the Owls to build the game's biggest lead at 26-18 after two free throws by center Justin Raffington with 8:01 left in the first half.
At that point, DePaul was 8-for-22 from the field (25 percent), including two misses on back-to-back offensive rebounds. The Blue Demons made eight of their final 13 from the floor in the first half.
The FAU guard tandem of Trapp and Bertone made life difficult for the Blue Demons in the first half. Trapp sank two 3-pointers in the first three minutes as the teams exchanged leads.
Bertone led all scorers with 17 first-half points, helping the Owls stretch a 15-13 lead to a 22-15 advantage with 11:45 left before halftime.
NOTES: DePaul's four losses this season were to teams with a combined 33-4 (.892) record. The Blue Demons' strength of schedule was ranked 14th by through Tuesday's games. ... DePaul was seeking its 1,400th victory since its first recognized season of 1923-24. The Blue Demons were 1,399-905 entering the. ... Senior G Brandon Young moved passed Sammy Mejia for 10th on DePaul's career list. He needed three points entering the game and had six by halftime.

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