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ROSEMONT, Ill. (AP) — DePaul coach Oliver Purnell will take a 100-point offensive outburst any day, but he could do without Saturday’s spotty defensive play.
The Blue Demons never trailed in a 102-95 victory but couldn’t put away a win-less Chicago State team that had lost previous games by an average of 27.3 points.
“I’m not real pleased with our performance at all,” Purnell said. “Our guys were decently energized most of the night on the offensive end of the floor. On the defensive end? Not very good.”
Cleveland Melvin scored a career-high 30 points while Brandon Young added 21, including 20 in the second half, as DePaul (6-3) broke an 11-game losing streak at Allstate Arena.
Chicago State (0-9) out-rebounded the Blue Demons 49-38, had a 40-36 scoring edge in the paint and put five players in double figures.
“We had real intense practices this past week, and we finally had some carryover,” Cougars coach Tracy Dildy said. “We’ve got a group of guys who have never played basketball together, and we’re still trying to make that transition. This is a time that a team starts to grow.”
Guard Matt Samuels led the Cougars with 20 points. Lee Fisher scored a career-high 19, and Jeremy Robinson had 17, Aaron Williams 15 and Clarke Rosenberg 14.
DePaul’s Jeremiah Kelly scored 19, including five 3-pointers, while Jamee Crockett added 11 points.
The Blue Demons, who hold a 10-0 series lead, were 14-for-31 on 3-pointers.
Chicago State crept within striking distance late in the first half and trimmed the deficit to 49-47 after hitting 9 of 10 free throws in a 1:24 span just before intermission.
Blue Demons reserve Charles McKinney hit a soft jumper just before the buzzer for a 51-47 DePaul halftime lead.
DePaul appeared in command with a 98-87 lead with 1:55 to play, but Chicago State rallied within 100-95 on Samuels’ dunk with 13 seconds to play. DePaul then successfully in-bounded, and Melvin closed with a dunk with 7 seconds showing.
The 100-point game was DePaul’s first since a 114-81 victory over Chicago State on Nov. 14, 2010.
DePaul travels to Northern Illinois on Wednesday night, while Chicago State is at Wichita State.
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