DePaul (10-5) at Connecticut (10-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, January 8, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Gampel Pavilion (10,167) -- Storrs, Connecticut. Television: SNY, Big East Network, MASN. Home Record: DePaul 6-3, UConn 7-0. Away Record: DePaul 4-0, UConn 0-2. Neutral Record: DePaul 0-2, UConn 3-2. Conference Record: DePaul 1-1, UConn 0-1. Series Record: UConn leads, 8-1.
GAMES NOTES: In their Big East home opener the Connecticut Huskies will try to remain perfect at Gampel Pavilion when the DePaul Blue Demons come to town for a conference battle Tuesday night.
The Blue Demons are coming off an 83-73 road victory over Providence which put an end to a short two-game slide. With the win DePaul is now 10-5 overall, with a mark of 1-1 against league foes. The Huskies won't have it easy in defending their home court as DePaul has been victorious in all four road tilts this season. Up next DePaul returns home to face Cincinnati.
In its Big East opener on New Year's Day, UConn was outlasted in overtime, 82-76, by Marquette. The loss ended a four-game winning streak for the Huskies who are now 10-3 this season. That mark has included a 7-0 ledger in games played on the Huskies' home court. UConn will also face a nationally ranked squad next when it travels to South Bend to take on Notre Dame.
Since these teams first met in 2004 UConn has dominated with eight wins in nine total meetings. That includes an 81-67 victory during the Big East Tournament last year.
In the win over Providence, DePaul turned up the heat on defense and forced 23 turnovers which the Blue Demons turned into 20 points. DePaul shot 43.5 percent from the floor in the game and overcame a 44-35 deficit on the boards. Cleveland Melvin led four players in double figures with 23 points.
The efforts by Melvin was a welcome sign after DePaul's leading scorer was held to single digits in each of the previous two games. Melvin is averaging 16.7 points and 7.7 rebounds per game overall. Brandon Young (16.1 ppg, 4.3 apg) teams with Melvin to form the second best scoring tandem in the Big East behind Bryce Cotton and Kadeem Batts of Providence. Outside of those two there isn't a ton of scoring punch with Jamee Crockett (9.5 ppg) the third option. Overall DePaul is scoring a healthy 75.1 points per game on the 10th best field goal percentage (.452) in the Big East. On the defensive end, DePaul is letting up 67.4 points per game on 41.4 percent shooting.
UConn trailed by as many as 10 points against Marquette but used a 14-3 run midway through the second half to earn a 58-57 lead. The teams would go back and forth until Marquette's Junior Cadougan hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to tie the game and send it to overtime. The Huskies hit just 2-of-7 shots in the extra frame, while Marquette was a perfect 3-of-3 to earn the win.
The Huskies have also benefited from a rather productive scoring duo this season with the backcourt of Shabazz Napier (17.5 ppg) and Ryan Boatright (15.8 ppg, 4.7 apg). Napier had a game-high 29 points against Marquette and has begun to distribute better, recently averaging 6.2 assists per game over the last five contests. Boatright is plenty capable of notching big point totals as well with a pair of 20-point efforts this year. Also averaging in double figures are Omar Calhoun (10.8 ppg) and DeAndre Daniels (10.1 ppg). Even with the production of Napier and Boatright the Huskies are 10th in the Big East in scoring (71.1 ppg) despite shooting a solid 46.0 percent from the field. The backcourt driven Huskies are also extremely weak on the boards ranking last in the Big East in the category (31.1 pg).
This game features four of the best scorers in the Big East. Although DePaul has played well on the road, winning in Gampel Pavilion is always a tough task and the Huskies will be out for redemption after a tough loss in the conference opener.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Connecticut 72, DePaul 66
01/08 10:32:36 ET