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DePaul fights back but falls short on late layup against Seton Hall

Updated: January 2, 2014 6:01PM

DePaul forward Jamee Crockett got the open shot he wanted with four seconds left against Seton Hall, but he missed.

‘‘It felt good, but it didn’t fall,’’ he said. ‘‘Sometimes the ball rolls your way, and sometimes it doesn’t.’’

It left the Blue Demons on the losing end of a 73-72 decision Wednesday at Allstate Arena in the Big East opener for both teams, but it also left DePaul (9-5, 0-1) with a second consecutive loss.

‘‘We’re a lot better team than them, but they were shooting threes and getting them,’’ said Crockett, who led the Demons with 16 points. ‘‘Coach [Oliver Purnell] warned us, but they kept falling for them.’’

The Pirates’ record (12-2, 1-0) and seven-game winning streak would counter Crockett’s view, though DePaul played a gritty second half to turn a 40-32 deficit into a 64-59 lead with 6:22 left.

The Demons led 72-71 with nine seconds left when Fuquan Edwin gave the Pirates the lead with a layup off an inbounds pass.

‘‘We had our chances, but a couple things that really hurt us were the free-throw line and the inability to clear the defensive board, especially at the end of the game,’’ Purnell said. ‘‘They scored on their last play. We got the shot we wanted at the end, but it didn’t go in.

‘‘And going 11-for-17 [from the line] in the second half,’’ Purnell said. ‘‘A lot of squandered opportunities, and in a close game, that matters.’’

Also hurting DePaul was a lackluster effort by scoring leader Cleveland Melvin, who played six minutes of the second half after scoring six points in the first. He went to the bench after going 0-for-5 to start the second half.

Melvin was held to single digits for the second consecutive game after a string of 26 games with double-digit scoring

‘‘It was just a decision I had to make,’’ Purnell said. ‘‘He was kind of listless and not making good basketball plays. We went to a smaller lineup that got us back in the game, and I made a decision to stay with them.

‘‘Teams are going to come after Cleve, and he has to recognize that. Listless won’t get it done.’’

The Pirates hit 7 of 12 threes in the first half before finishing 10-for-24, including four from Aaron Cosby, who led the team with 24 points.

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