DePaul falls to Seton Hall

By Etheria Modacure

The DePaul University men’s basketball team has a lot of work to do to remain competitive in the Big East Conference. The Blue Demons (6-10, 0-4) lost to the Seton Hall University Pirates (8-9, 2-3) on Jan. 12, 78-67 at the Allstate Arena.

The Blue Demons shot 38.5 percent, 25-of-65 from the field and allowed the Pirates to shoot 69 percent, 20-of-29, in the second half. Seton Hall welcomed the return of senior guard Jeremy Hazell, who was shot during an attempted robbery on Dec. 27.

Hazell scored a game-high of 23 points against the Blue Demons and shot 10-of-17 from the field while helping the Pirates pull away in the second half.

At halftime, the Blue Demons trailed the Pirates 32-31, though they were shooting 35.3 percent and missed a lot of opportunities at the basket. Seton Hall opened the second half by scoring seven points in the first two minutes of the period.

“I thought we had a lot of [easy] shots in the first half, we just didn’t get them to [go through the net],” said Head Coach Oliver Purnell.

Purnell said the Blue Demons weren’t tough enough in the second half to sustain any momentum they had going into halftime. The Pirates outrebounded The Blue Demons 20-13 after the first half. This led the Pirates to use the fast break that scored 10 points in the second half.

Purnell said the Blue Demons put themselves in a position where they were going to try to outscore the Pirates after they were trailing by a wide margin.

“You allow [the Pirates] to shoot 70 percent [in the second half] and you lose the rebounding war, it’s going to be tough to win,” Purnell said. “Defensively we were fine in the first half; in the second half we were not very good.”

This was the third consecutive loss for the Blue Demons whose last victory was on Dec. 22, against the Florida-Atlantic University Owls. The Blue Demons has lost 17 Big East games since last season after winning one game.

The Pirates were efficient beating the Blue Demons off the dribble, according to Purnell, which gave them easier shots in the second half.

Both teams entered as the contest losers of their last three games and were in the bottom half of the 16-team Big East Conference.

The Blue Demons wasted a good effort from freshman forward Cleveland Melvin, who scored 21 points against the Pirates. Melvin was the Blue Demon player with more than eight rebounds, finishing the game with nine.

Melvin’s first half was forgettable when he had seven points on 3-of-13 shooting. He was able to get 14 points in the second half by shooting 5-of-8 from the field.

“It was tough [seeing those] shots not falling, but my teammates told me to keep my head up [and the shots] would fall in the second half,” Melvin said. “I just kept my head up and kept playing and shots [began] falling.”

Guard Brandon Young said communication on defense was absent in the second half. He acknowledged improvement is needed in reading personnel and making smooth transitions against opposing offenses.

The Blue Demons upcoming schedule has games against opponents above .500. Five of Depaul’s six future opponents are ranked in The Associated Press poll.

Young said it’s not hard for the Blue Demons to keep their heads up given they have a tough stretch of games coming up.

“It’s a 40-minute game, so you have to keep [things] positive,” Young said. “We have to keep it positive. We can’t [stay] negative.”