NCAA News Wire

DePaul struggles without three starters

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NEWARK, N.J. — When healthy, the DePaul Blue Demons have found it difficult to win on the road in the Big East Conference this season.

Securing a victory against Seton Hall on Saturday night at the Prudential Center without three of its key players proved to be an impossible task. DePaul slipped to 1-4 away from home in the conference, falling 86-69 to Seton Hal.

The Blue Demons (10-11, 2-6 Big East) were without 6-foot-8 starting forward Cleveland Melvin, who was suspended for violating team rules; starting guard Billy Garrett Jr., who was ill, and key reserve and top defender Charles McKinney, a junior guard who sat out with an ankle injury.

DePaul coach Oliver Purnell would not provide any details on what led to Melvin’s suspension.

“Billy was getting IVs in the hospital when the game started, Charles was on crutches and getting rehab and we have to re-evaluate Cleve’s situation with his suspension,” DePaul coach Oliver Purnell said after the game. “We hope to get them all back because we don’t play for a week.”

The Blue Demons face Providence next Saturday.

Purnell said Garrett was not feeling well on Friday night and started receiving fluids. His condition failed to improve Saturday and Purnell was forced to start Edwind McGhee, a senior who had played just 15 minutes in four games.

McGhee, a walk-on from Champaign, Ill. was on the floor for 33 minutes and was 0 of 6 from the field and had two of DePaul’s 14 turnovers against Seton Hall (12-8, 3-4).

Freshman forward DeJaun Marrero replaced Melvin, one of the conference’s better interior players. Making only his second start this season, Marrero finished with five points and seven rebounds.

Melvin, a senior, leads the team in scoring at 16.7 points per game and rebounding at 6.4 per game. Garrett’s 11.9 scoring average is tops among Big East freshman.

McKinney has started 10 games this season and was in the midst of his best game of the year with nine points and six rebounds against Xavier before suffering the ankle injury midway through the second half.