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DePaul sloppy but victorious thanks to Cleveland Melvin’s 24 points

DePaul’s ClevelMelvshoots over Maryland-Baltimore County’s Chase Plummer second half. He led all scorers with 24 points. | AP

DePaul’s Cleveland Melvin shoots over Maryland-Baltimore County’s Chase Plummer in the second half. He led all scorers with 24 points. | AP

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Updated: January 24, 2013 6:48AM

Brandon Young and Cleveland Melvin teamed up for a flashy alley-oop basket with 9:30 left in DePaul’s game Saturday against Maryland-Baltimore County at Allstate Arena.

‘‘I love that,’’ said Melvin, who scored 24 points to lead the Blue Demons to a 69-61 victory. ‘‘Brandon knows where to find me under the basket, and the rest of the guys do, too.’’

Melvin’s flashy scoring made up for his six turnovers, something DePaul coach Oliver Purnell knows he needs to correct.

‘‘He’s always a factor and a terrific runner, so he’s always ahead on the break, and there are a lot of opportunities for him in the course of a game,’’ Purnell said. ‘‘He has to learn to be more patient.

‘‘He’s still a work in progress, but he’s clearly a factor for us.’’

Melvin also grabbed eight
rebounds as the Demons (9-3)
extended their winning streak to seven games, their longest since the 1993-94 season.

‘‘It wasn’t one of our better performances, but we played well in the last seven, eight minutes to put things away,’’ Purnell said.

DePaul led by six to eight points for most of the game, despite facing a troublesome zone defense from the Retrievers (2-10).

‘‘We weren’t moving the ball well against that zone,’’ Melvin said. ‘‘We have to learn how to do a
better job with that.’’

UMBC scored 21 points off the Demons’ 18 turnovers, but the
Retrievers also were the victims of DePaul’s improving pressure defense.

‘‘DePaul pressures the ball the whole game, so you know you’ll have turnovers,’’ UMBC coach Aki Thomas said. ‘‘But we had too many and a key one at the end of the game.’’

The Demons forced 20 turnovers and scored 23 points as a result. That helped them prevail, even though they shot only 40.8 percent from the field (20-for-49) and 67.6 percent from the free-throw line (25-for-37).

‘‘A lot of what you get out of [the pressure] is energy, and it generally ignites things late,’’ Purnell said.

Jamee Crockett added 11 points and six rebounds and Worrel Clahar 10 points and five assists for DePaul. Aaron Morgan scored 15 points, Ryan Cook 13 and Brian Neller 12 for the Retrievers.

‘‘Give UMBC credit because this was a difficult game on the road and a difficult time of year for kids to play,’’ Purnell said. ‘‘Kids’ minds might already be on going home.’’

Melvin was heading home to his native Baltimore after the game, but he said facing his hometown team didn’t matter during it.

‘‘I looked at this game as any
other,’’ Melvin said. ‘‘We had to come out and play hard and get the win, and that’s what we did.’’

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