Kelly, Faber close out DePaul careers with win over Seton Hall
Published: Saturday, March 3, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 16:08
And so, another regular season for the men's basketball team comes to a close.
After a great start to the season, the Blue Demons endured a cold spell that reminded fans of their typical struggles in the Big East Conference. Yet they still enjoyed some closure on Saturday, defeating the Seton Hall Pirates 86-58 for their third conference win of the year.
To DePaul's credit, they've shown a lot this season in terms of maturity and growth. The Blue Demons had one of their better conference showings in recent years and are only improving. This is partly due to the squad's two seniors, Jeremiah Kelly and Krys Faber. The two close the book on the Jerry Wainwright era at DePaul, and despite going through coaching changes, they were able to adjust and still provide leadership.
As players, the two exemplified great character and love for the game and they deserve the respect and support of the DePaul community. And they can certainly say they went out winners.
DePaul (12-18, 3-15) came into this one having lost nine straight games, but fortunately for them, found their form Saturday night.
The Pirates (19-10, 8-9) came into the matchup fresh off a 77-72 loss to Rutgers on their own senior night. There's no doubt they had this date circled for a rebound victory.
"It's not going to stop us from going to DePaul and kicking butt," senior guard Jordan Theodore said prior to the game Saturday.
The Pirates, who needed this victory in order to gain a bye week in the Big East tournament, shouldn't have underestimated the Blue Demons.
DePaul trailed early in this one 7- 2, but after a 5- 0 run and a Jamee Crockett three-pointer, the Blue Demons would never go away.
In fact, they would set the tempo.
The energy was there tonight for DePaul, as the Blue Demons executed exceptional ball movement, breaking the Pirates trap defense. Seton Hall was very limited on the defensive end, only guarding the inside.
It was clear they didn't receive the memo on Crockett, who led DePaul with 11 in the first half, including three makes from beyond the arc. Cleveland Melvin joined Crockett in scoring with eight.
The game changer came in the form of a technical foul when Moses Morgan and Pirates forward Freddie Wilson exchanged flagrant fouls near the paint. The original call was that Wilson hit Morgan on the head near the basket, but after review it was shown that Morgan threw an elbow. Morgan and Wilson both hit their two shots from the foul line, canceling out the damage. The Blue Demons got the ball for a final possession and capitalized, heading into the locker room leading 40 -27.
"That was important because [holding leads late in the half is] an area we've struggled with,'' Head Coach Oliver Purnell said. "They could have been distracted but the key was they went right back to concentrating on the defensive end.''
The Blue Demons were relentless in the second half, taking advantage of Seton Hall's passive defense. The momentum was solely on DePaul's side, and at this point the Blue Demons got the crowd involved. DePaul executed three alley-oops including one scored by Crockett that got him to the line.
Crockett had a career game, shooting 5-of-7 from three-point range, finishing with a season-high 21 points. Kelly took advantage of the senior night spotlight shooting 50 percent from the floor, finishing with 15 points and 10 assists, the first double double of his career. His senior counterpart Krys Faber finished with four points and four rebounds to continue the Blue Demons run. DePaul shot a season-high 53 percent from the floor, giving them a commanding 30 point lead with 1:20 to go.
"It's overwhelming,'' Faber said. "My teammates were able to come together and [they] gave us the best going-away present. It was about team.''
Seton Hall's Herb Pope proved to be the only scoring factor for the opposition, scoring 16 points. He kept his composure throughout the contest, but unfortunately lost his team in the second half. The Pirates shot just 43 percent from the field, including a mere 31 percent from outside.
This was truly the best DePaul played all season, and it couldn't have come on a better night.
"Our four years have been tough [with four losing seasons and three different coaches], but from a life standpoint, I learned so much,'' Kelly said.
DePaul opens Big East tournament play with an opening round contest against Connecticut, slated for an 11 a.m. (CT) tip.