DePaul has ripped off five consecutive victories to improve to 9-3 overall, and tonight's game represents the conference opener for the squad. The Blue Demons have been idle since a December 21 triumph over Cal Poly by a 63-58 final, and this matchup with the Orange represents a major leap in competition level.
The Orange own an 8-4 series lead over the Blue Demons, and the programs have split their four previous meetings in Rosemont. Last season, Syracuse embarrassed DePaul by a 107-59 final.
Against Cal Poly, DePaul got 16 points apiece from Cleveland Melvin and Brandon Young, two of the team's starters. Melvin ripped down eight boards in that tilt, while Young handed out six assists. Jamee Crockett provided some added offense with his 10 points, and the fact that the Blue Demons committed only five turnovers in that affair was tremendously impressive. Defensively, they held Cal Poly to 37.7 percent field goal efficiency. Overall this season, Melvin is scoring 18.5 ppg to go along with 6.5 rpg, and Young is close behind with 17.4 ppg on the strength of his 53.8 percent shooting from the floor. Young has handed out 57 assists already, while Jeremiah Kelly is second in that department with 49 assists. Kelly is scoring 10.6 ppg to go along with a club-best 21 steals for DePaul, which is scoring 77.8 ppg while yielding 70.3 ppg.
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