Hot-shooting DePaul downs Milwaukee

Andrew Wagner, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

MILWAUKEE -- Shots are falling for the DePaul Blue Demons.
Connecting at a 48 percent clip through the first three games this season, DePaul made hit 49.2 percent of its shots Tuesday in a 80-71 non-conference victory over Milwaukee at the U.S. Cellular Arena.
"That was a real solid road win for us," Blue Demons coach Oliver Purnell said. "Milwaukee was playing well and feeling good about themselves, this was their first home game, so we expected it would come down to the wire."
The Blue Demons' backcourt tandem of Cleveland Melvin and Brandon Young powered the offense, going 16-for-33 from the field and combining for 39 points -- 22 of them in the second half.
Melvin hit four 3-pointers to finish with 20 points. He also pulled down nine rebounds. Young scored 19 to go along with six rebounds and seven assists for the Blue Demons, who also got 10 points from forward Jamee Crockett.
DePaul (3-1) was especially lethal in the second half, shooting at a 60.7 percent clip, turning a tie game into a 14-point lead with 7:26 left.
Milwaukee (4-2) responded with a 12-4 run that cut the lead to six with 3:15 to play, but the Blue Demons held on for their second consecutive victory.
"We knew it was going to be a battle," Young said. "We just stayed together as a team on both ends on the floor. We did that for 40 minutes tonight."
The Panthers, riding a four-game winning streak but playing for the fourth time in five days, struggled with their shots in the first half but stayed close by making six 3-pointers.
"We felt like they needed 3s to beat us, so as long as they were getting 2s, we could live with that," Purnell said. "We went zone on a few possessions and they got it inside, but I was afraid that they could get hot from the outside."
Purnell's strategy worked as Milwaukee shot just 1-for-6 on 3-point attempts in the second half.
The Blue Demons, meanwhile, made their first six shots out of the break and extended the lead to seven on Melvin's dunk off a Young pass with 10:40 remaining. Milwaukee couldn't keep up, falling behind by as many as 14 in the second half before an 8-2 run gave Milwaukee some late life.
"We got tired at about the 10-minute mark and mentally we'd break down," Panthers coach Rob Jeter said. "We'd give up a box-out or not keep a guy in front of us, give up a baseline drive, all the things we drill over and over, that's fatigue. It's not an excuse. ... When you're disciplined, you'll do the right thing, no matter how tired you are. We're just not there yet."
The Panthers cut the lead to eight when forward Kyle Kelm converted two free throws with 5:02 left. Kelm found guard Malcolm Moore for an easy layup on Milwaukee's next possession to make it a 65-59 contest with 4:24 left. After both sides missed 3-pointers on their next possessions, a short jumper by guard Billy Garrett put the Blue Demons back ahead by eight.
Milwaukee would get no closer than six the rest of the way, missing three shots in the final minute.
"We have to make a conscious effort so we're not looking back at opportunities," Jeter said. "We'll get better from this, but we just won't be able to get this opportunity back, and that's what stings."
Tiby led the Panthers with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Kelm had 16 off the bench on 6-of-8 shooting. Forward Austin Arians had 10, and forward J.J. Panoske finished with nine for Milwaukee.
NOTES: Five Panthers entered the game with double-digit scoring averages. ... DePaul has won 12 of the 13 meetings between the two teams, including an 84-50 victory last season. ... Milwaukee was playing its first game at the U.S. Cellular Arena after playing the 2012-13 season off-campus. ... DePaul is averaging 81.25 points in its first four games of the season. ... The Panthers' four-game winning streak was their longest since the 2011-12 season, which included a 87-76 victory at DePaul.

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