Houston Baptist vs DePaul

DePaul defeats Houston Baptist 78-58

By BRIAN SANDALOW
Associated Press
  •  

ROSEMONT, Ill. (AP) Cleveland Melvin scored a season-high 28 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead DePaul to a 78-58 win Wednesday night over Houston Baptist on the 100th anniversary of the birth of legendary coach Ray Meyer.

Tommy Hamilton IV added 14 and Brandon Young had 11 for DePaul (7-4), which has won three straight and four of five. The three-game winning streak is the longest of the season for the Blue Demons, who were playing their final non-conference home game before the start of Big East play on Dec. 31 at Georgetown.

Melvin had his third double-double of the season and second in a row, helping DePaul overcome a night when it shot 40.3 percent. That, however, was offset by Houston Baptist shooting just 23 of 61 (37.7 percent).

Melvin got off to a fast start in the first half. He shot 5 of 10 for 15 points, boosting the Blue Demons to a 33-27 halftime lead, despite the rest of his team going 7 for 23.

DePaul then maintained control in the second half against a struggling Houston Baptist team, taking its first 20-point lead on a Melvin 3-point play with 7:07 left.

Cody Joyce led Houston Baptist (3-8) with 14 points and Rob Lewis had 11. The Huskies have lost three straight and seven of their last nine and play Saturday at Pepperdine.

The Huskies then open their first season in the Southland Conference on Jan. 2 when they face Oral Roberts. They had been in the now-defunct Great West Conference.

Wednesday wrapped up a busy run of three games in seven days for DePaul. The stretch started last Thursday with an 81-70 win over Florida Atlantic, before Sunday when the Blue Demons survived a late rally to beat Chicago State 77-70 in overtime.

On Wednesday, the Blue Demons weren't challenged nearly as much, and were able to honor the Hall of Fame coach who led them for 42 seasons and died in March 2006 at age 92.

For DePaul, the anniversary of Meyer's birth was a reminder of better times for the program he built. Hired in 1942, the Chicago-born Meyer quickly brought DePaul to prominence, pairing with George Mikan and advancing to the 1943 Final Four before winning the 1945 NIT title.

By the late 1970s, DePaul was one of the nation's most glamorous programs, culminating with the Blue Demons reaching the 1979 Final Four with stars such as Mark Aguirre before losing in the national semifinals to Larry Bird's Indiana State.

Meyer retired in 1984 with a record of 724-356, accounting for more than half of DePaul's 1,402 victories. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1979, and DePaul now plays on Ray and Marge Meyer Court.

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