CANCUN, Mexico -- The scouting report should soon get out on Wichita State. Don't bother pressing the Shockers. They like shooting layups.
DePaul tried to press Wichita State most of the game on Tuesday in the semifinals of the Riviera Division in the Cancun Challenge. The Blue Demons didn't create turnovers. They succeeded in speeding up the tempo, but only to give Wichita State layups en route to a 74-63 win at the Moon Palace Resort.
DePaul (2-2) plays Iowa or Western Kentucky in Wednesday's third-place game. Wichita State (5-0) plays in the championship game against either Iowa or Western Kentucky.
Brandon Young led DePaul with 19 points. Moses Morgan came off the bench to score 15. Cleveland Melvin, averaging 20 per game coming into the contest, scored 11.
Malcolm Armstead and Demetric Williams led Wichita State with 16 points.
DePaul had to back off its press and play zone late in the first half. It went back to the press in the second half and the Shockers took advantage. Wichita State's guards regularly worked through the traps and pushed the ball to open teammates. When Wichita State broke the press and slowed up, it went to work on DePaul's half-court defense. While the Shockers struggled from the field, their ability to beat the press robbed DePaul of easy baskets off turnovers.
Foul problems hampered both teams. Melvin, DePaul's top scorer, had three first-half fouls and never got in the flow of the offense. The Blue Demons entered the double bonus midway through the second half, but couldn't take advantage.
DePaul made two runs early in the second half, cutting the lead to 36-32 and 38-35. But Wichita State kept attacking the press, and DePaul's halfcourt defense failed to keep the Shockers from scoring in the lane. Wichita State guards often drove from the three-point line to the lane without obstacles, needing only to beat a late-arriving help defender for the basket.
Defense controlled the early moments of the game. DePaul didn't score until 14:58 remained in the half, but the Blue Devils still only trailed by three. The teams piled up eight fouls and four turnovers before the Shockers scored first with a free throw with 16:07 to play.
Wichita State forced 11 first-half turnovers and, after some ugly moments, found a way to create some offense by getting the ball inside. The Shockers outscored DePaul 18-2 in the paint. Wichita State's success beating the press forced DePaul to back off late in the half and try a zone. Wichita State guards dribbled through it for layups. The Shockers led by as many as 12, after Fred VanVleet's layup, and 27-17 before the Blue Demons rallied.
DePaul played its best moments after Melvin went to the bench with his third foul with 2:13 to play in the first half. It got the best of some race-track moments when Brandon Young scored on a run-out to cut the lead to 27-19. After a Shockers turnover, Worrel Clahar made a three in the final seconds of the half to make it 27-22 and send the Blue Demons into the break with some momentum.
Foul problems threatened both teams. Wichita State starters Ron Baker and Evan Wessel picked up two quickly and played little in the first half. Cleanthony Early and Jake White also had two in the first half. DePaul starters Melvin and Donnavan Kirk ended the half with three each.
NOTES: Sophomore forward James Crockett did not play after he injured his right knee in Saturday's win over Austin Peay. Crockett is considered day to day. ... Melvin scored only four points in the first half, missing 3 of 5 free throws and 2 of 3 field goals. ... DePaul fell to 4-3 against Wichita State.