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ROSEMONT, Ill. (AP) — Cleveland Melvin and Brandon Young scored 16 points apiece Wednesday night as DePaul beat Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo 63-58 for its fifth straight win and best start since 1999.
The Mustangs (8-4) had a chance to force overtime when they trailed 61-58, but reserve Dylan Royer missed a 3-pointer with 7 seconds left. Melvin was fouled on the subsequent rebound and hit two free throws to secure the victory.
Jamee Crockett added 10 points for the Blue Demons (9-3).
David Hanson paced Cal Poly with 13 points and 11 rebounds, while Will Taylor and Amaurys Fermin each scored 11.
DePaul last opened at 9-3 in 1999-2000. A victory would have given Cal Poly its best start in 18 seasons of Division I basketball.
The Blue Demons missed seven straight shots while Cal Poly used an early 10-2 surge to open a 14-9 lead. The Mustangs then went cold for 10 minutes while DePaul rattled off 13 straight for a for a 22-14 edge with 5:06 showing.
The Mustangs didn’t hit a field goal for more than 12 minutes until Will Donahue broke the drought with a minute left before halftime. The Mustangs were 7-for-26 from the field but 7-for-10 on free throws in the first half.
DePaul led 28-21 at the break behind Crockett’s eight points. Hanson paced Cal Poly with nine.
Shooting improved for both teams in the second half, and the Mustangs crept within three points in the last 3:27. The last three-point gap came after Hanson’s layup with 30 seconds left pulled Cal Poly within 61-58.
Melvin missed two free throws with 23 seconds left, and the Mustangs rebounded and rushed downcourt, but Royer’s 3-pointer was unsuccessful.
The game was the first between the Big East and Big West programs.
Cal Poly has one more nonconference game before opening Big West play on Jan. 2 at home against UC Santa Barbara. DePaul is idle until Jan. 1, when it entertains top-ranked Syracuse in a Big East opener.
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