DePaul (3-3) at Auburn (2-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, November 30, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Auburn Arena (9,121)-- Auburn, Alabama.
Television: ESPNU. Home Record: DePaul 3-1, Auburn 1-1. Away Record: DePaul
0-0, Auburn 1-1. Neutral Record: DePaul 0-2, Auburn 0-2. Conference Record:
DePaul 0-0, Auburn 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The DePaul Blue Demons will be representing their conference in
their first true road game of the season, as they head to Alabama to square
off with the Auburn Tigers as part of the SEC/Big East Challenge.
DePaul improved to 3-3 with an 85-78 win over Fairfield at home on Tuesday.
The victory came after logging a 1-3 mark in the Cancun Classic, as the Blue
Demons defeated Austin Peay and suffered a setback to Gardner-Webb in Rosemont
before enduring pair of losses to Wichita State and Western Kentucky in the
final stages of the event in Mexico. DePaul has lost its last eight games
versus SEC opponents. Coach Oliver Purnell is in his third season with the
program and is 0-2 in his career versus the Tigers. So far this season, the
Blue Demons are scoring 76 ppg while allowing opponents to net 70 ppg.
The Tigers are coming off a disappointing 78-72 double-overtime loss at home
to the previously winless Rhode Island Rams. The setback was the team's third
in a row and dropped its record to 2-4. Auburn also struggled in an early
tournament as it went just 1-3 in the Charleston Classic with losses to Murray
State, Dayton and Boston College. Its only win in the event came against host
school, the College of Charleston. Coach Tony Barbee has yet to lead AU to a
winning record in his two seasons at the helm, but it finished just one game
shy of that mark with a 15-16 overall record in 2011-12. The Tigers have some
work to do to get back to .500, as they are averaging just 59.8 ppg while
allowing 63.5 ppg.
This bout marks the first meeting between these two schools on the hardwood.
The Blue Demons were gambling on defense their last time out, fortunately it
led to a win over Fairfield. Despite allowing the Stags to shoot 51.8 percent
from the field, including 7-of-17 from three-point range, DePaul managed to
stay in front for the majority of the contest by forcing 19 turnovers,
claiming a narrow 34-31 edge in the rebounding battle, and knocking down 50.7
percent of its field goal attempts. Cleveland Melvin led the way by tying his
career-high with 30 points. Melvin has now scored at least 20 points in two
straight games and at least 10 in 20 consecutive contests. Charles McKinney
added a career-best 11 points and Donnavan Kirk came up just short of a
double-double with totals of 10 points, nine rebounds and four blocks. Melvin
paces the team with 20.5 points and 8.3 boards per contest. Brandon Young adds
Auburn held the advantage in its recent game versus Rhode Island, but it could
not shut the door after leading by 11 points in the opening half. It also held
a three-point lead in the closing seconds of the first overtime period before
allowing a Rams' 3-pointer in the closing seconds. In the contest, URI knocked
down 13-of-26 attempts from beyond the arc in the contest. The Tigers were
unable to overcome 19 turnovers, which the Rams turned into 30 points. Leading
scorer Frankie Sullivan was ice cold, finishing with just seven points after a
1-of-9 performance from beyond the arc. The senior guard is scoring 18.3 ppg.
With Sullivan failing to convert versus URI, Jordan Price led the team with 19
points on 7-of-11 shooting from the floor. Noel Johnson chipped in 13 points
and Rob Chubb grabbed nine rebounds.
The Tigers are not going to compete with anyone if Sullivan remains in a
slump. Auburn relies on its senior guard for too much and it showed with the
high turnover total versus URI. The Blue Demons swarming defense is going to
cause a high amount of miscues, but Sullivan should get more open looks this
time around. However, Melvin is going to continue to thrive at the offensive
end and Young will keep the Tigers scrambling on defense.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: DePaul 67, Auburn 63
11/30 10:31:59 ET
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