DePaul 83, Providence 73

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Cleveland Melvin scored 23 points, Brandon Young added 15 and DePaul opened the second half on a 22-8 run before holding off a late charge from Providence in an 83-73 victory Saturday night.
Melvin, the Blue Demons' leading scorer, was 10 of 18 from the floor, added nine rebounds and spearheaded a 16-2 stretch that spanned the first and second halves and helped DePaul snap a two-game losing streak.
Jamee Crockett added 15 points and Moses Morgan had 10 for the Blue Demons (10-5, 1-1 Big East).
Bryce Cotton, the second-leading scorer in the Big East and seventh in the nation at 21.5 points per game, came off the bench for Providence (8-6, 0-2 Big East) and scored 20 points on 4-of-14 shooting, including 14 of the Friars' final 20 points, as they crept within eight before dropping their fourth straight.
Kadeem Batts scored 17 points and Vincent Council added 16 for the Friars, who shot just 37.5 percent (24 of 64) and committed 21 turnovers.
After closing the first half on a 10-2 run, the Blue Demons scored six straight to begin the second, opening up a 43-30 lead on the heels of three straight Providence turnovers. Crockett scored on a nifty reverse layup and followed that with a thunderous two-handed slam before a turnaround jumper by Melvin.
The Friars finally scored 3:10 into the half on a baseline drive by Vincent, but Worrel Clahar stretched the lead back to 13 before Donnavan Kirk sank a 3-pointer for a 48-34 cushion with 16:07 to play.
Vincent did his best to keep Providence in the game, sinking a running floater that cut the deficit to 12. But the Friars continually failed to deliver on the other end of the court, as Morgan sank a 3, Melvin hit a short layup and Durrell McDonald added a bucket with 12:27 remaining, staking the Blue Demons to a commanding 57-38 lead.
It only got worse before it got slightly better for the Friars.
Providence fell behind 62-40 after a three-point play from Kirk, but the Friars finally strung together consecutive baskets when Sidiki Johnson threw down a dunk and LaDontae Henton added a layup off a turnover.
Following a long jumper from Melvin that stretched the lead back to 64-47, Providence went on a 13-4 run of its own, aided by a strong press that helped the Friars creep even closer.
Henton scored on a dunk and a layup after a steal to cut the deficit to 64-51, and Batts brought the Friars within 13 again after a strong drive to the lane.
Cotton hit two free throws to make it 66-55 and, following an uncontested layup by Durrell, Cotton hit Providence's first 3-pointer of the night, snapping an 0-for-10 skid and whittling the deficit to 10 with 2:30 left.
Another 3 and a free throw from Cotton following a steal made it 72-64 with 1:54 left, but that's as close as Providence would come.
Melvin scored 13 points on 6-of-11 shooting in the first half for DePaul, which opened up a 37-30 lead on Providence at the break.
The Friars failed to find an offensive rhythm, shooting 35.5 percent (11 of 31) from the floor and committing nine turnovers in the opening 20 minutes.
After missing eight of its first 11 shots, Providence got into a groove seven minutes in when Council converted a three-point play that brought it within 11-9. Then Batts tied it after scoring on a put-back layup for two of his nine first-half points.
A baseline dunk by Providence's Kris Dunn punctuated a 9-3 run that put the Friars in front 22-18 with eight minutes left in the first half.
The Blue Demons answered with a strong spurt of their own, though, getting nine straight points from Melvin for a 27-21 edge and then closed the half on a 10-2 surge, capped by a jumper from Young.
NOTES: The Friars' next game is against No. 7 Syracuse on Wednesday night, one week after falling to No. 4 Louisville. ... DePaul next plays at Connecticut on Tuesday. ... Crockett's 3-pointer in the first half extended the Blue Demons' streak to 594 straight games with a 3-pointer, a stretch dating back to 1993. ... Cotton, the second-leading scorer in the Big East, did not start.

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