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DePaul gets off to fast start before falling to Southern Miss

DePaul center Tommy HamiltIV (2) shoots between Southern Mississippi guard Chip Armelleft forward DaveBoardingham during second half an NCAA college

DePaul center Tommy Hamilton IV (2) shoots between Southern Mississippi guard Chip Armelin, left, and forward Daveon Boardingham during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Rosemont, Ill., Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013. Southern Mississippi won 75-68. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

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Updated: November 14, 2013 12:24AM

Guard Billy Garrett Jr. is only a freshman, but he knew what went wrong for DePaul in the closing minutes of its 75-68 loss Wednesday to Southern Miss at Allstate Arena.

‘‘It came down to stops and shot selection,’’ he said. ‘‘We got the stops, but we took an early three-pointer.’’

Garrett was referring to senior forward Cleveland Melvin’s missed three-pointer when the Blue Demons
(1-1) trailed 65-62.

Garrett had eight assists and two steals in his second college game, but he and his teammates fell short on the boards and in getting what coach Oliver Purnell called ‘‘critical rebounds.’’

‘‘Our inability to block out and get critical rebounds
allowed them to come back,’’ Purnell said of the Golden Eagles (2-0).

DePaul dominated the first 10 minutes and led 21-9,
but their shooting and
rebounding went south, enabling Southern Miss to close the first half with a 25-9 burst for a 35-30 lead.

The Demons led briefly in the opening minutes of the second half, but the Golden Eagles built an 11-point lead before a three-pointer by Melvin pulled DePaul to
65-62 with 5:18 left.

But Melvin followed by missing another three-pointer, and the rebound triggered a basket by Southern Miss’ Michael Craig at the other end.

‘‘We could have been more patient,’’ said senior guard Brandon Young, who rushed the long pass to Melvin. ‘‘I could have been more patient. We tried to get something going real fast, and that cost us.’’

Young scored 23 points and Melvin 16 to lead the Demons, but Young also committed six turnovers.

The Golden Eagles, who won a school-record 27 games and reached the NIT quarterfinals last season, outrebounded DePaul 36-29, even though the Demons had a height advantage.

‘‘We didn’t finish the first half very well,’’ Purnell said. ‘‘We relaxed against a gritty team. Then we struggled
offensively, and I thought that affected our rebounding.

‘‘It was the second game for a lot of the young guys, and I thought it showed. But that’s where Cleve and Brandon have to do more.’’

Southern Miss had four players in double figures, led by junior Aaron Brown’s 13 points, all of which came in the second half.


Twitter: @toniginnetti

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