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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 16, 2 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Allstate Arena (18,500) -- Rosemont, Illinois. Television: FSN. Home Record: WSU 1-0, DePaul 1-1. Away Record: WSU 0-1, DePaul 0-0. Neutral Record: WSU 0-0, DePaul 0-0. Conference Record: WSU 0-0, DePaul 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: Both sides will be looking to bounce back from their first loss of the season as the Wright State Raiders tangle with the DePaul Blue Demons at Allstate Arena as part of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic.
The Raiders opened up their season with a rout of Division III foe Mount St Joseph before being defeated, 88-70, by Georgetown in the nation's capital on Wednesday. Although it is coming off an 18-point loss, coach Billy Donlon's squad is expected to be a contender for the Horizon League crown this season as it returns nine players from last season's 10-man rotation that amassed a 23-13 record. Wright State is shooting 47.3 percent from the field through its first two games.
DePaul was impressive in its first appearance of the 2013-14 campaign as it coasted to a 96-58 victory over Grambling State. However, the success was short-lived as it dropped a 78-65 decision to Southern Miss on Wednesday. Coach Oliver Purnell's squad is hopeful to turn things around from its 11-21 finish last season with four starters back in the fold. The Blue Demons gambled against the Golden Eagles to force 15 USM turnovers, but they also allowed the visitors to convert 52 percent of their field goal tries.
This will be the first meeting in history between Wright State and DePaul.
The Raiders will have some momentum as they head to Rosemont after outscoring the Hoyas, 39-38, in the second stanza of their setback. WSU forced 16 turnovers and went 19-of-22 at the charity stripe in the contest. Kendall Griffin paced the team with 15 points on 4-of-8 shooting from the floor while J.T. Yoho and A.J. Pacher posted 14 points apiece. Griffin, who clocked the most minutes on the squad last season with 1,046, dealt out a team-high five assists without committing any turnovers in the season opener, but finished with no helpers to two assists at Georgetown, which kept its distance by hitting on 10-of-22 shots from behind the 3-point line.
DePaul held a 12-point lead in the first half over USM on Wednesday, but struggled at the charity stripe and could not halt a run that allowed the Golden Eagles to take a five-point lead into the intermission. Brandon Young led the way for the Blue Demons with a game-high 23 points to go along with six rebounds and four steals, while Cleveland Melvin tacked on 16 points in the setback. Young also committed six turnovers. Last season as juniors, Young led the team with 16.7 points, 4.6 assists and 1.5 steals per outing, while Melvin was just slightly behind in the scoring column at 16.6 ppg in addition to his team-high 6.8 rpg. It looked like Purnell found the missing piece in 6- foot-10 freshman center Tommy Hamilton IV, who registered a double-double in the first half of his collegiate debut (11 points, 10 rebounds) before finishing with 16 points and 11 boards in the game. Hamilton however, went just 2-of-7 from the field to net eight points versus USM.
The Blue Demons will need their rookie center to mature quickly if they hope to have a chance in the very talented Big East Conference this season. While the Raiders are a solid mid-major squad, they will have trouble against DePaul's bigger front line. Young should be able to bounce back from his difficulties against Wright State, which does not have as talented a backcourt as USM.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: DePaul 78, Wright State 71
11/16 10:41:24 ET
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