It was the first meeting between DePaul and Wright State, but that didn't keep the game from being interesting. Really, after a first half that the Raiders were mostly in control of, DePaul took the bull by the horns and got their second victory of the -- season thanks in large part to Cleveland Melvin being all Cleveland Melvin-ish.
At one point during the game, Wright State led by as much as nine points. As sure as I know the sky is blue (it is blue, right?), it was just as easy to "know" that this would be another example of the Blue Demons falling to foes they are not supposed to. Thankfully for Oliver Purnell and his players, however, a combination of Melvin, team scoring and a little insurgence of Billy Garrett Jr. making some free throws, was enough to hold off Wright State.
There is really nothing of relative importance to take away from the game itself, though. As expected, Melvin lived up to his productivity billing. I mean, scoring 23 points on 8-of-10 shooting is pretty much what DePaul fans expect out of the talented forward. It was also nice that his buddy in productivity greatness, Brandon Young, chipped in 14 of his own. In fact, Young's 14 points is less -- per game, at least -- scoring than DePaul is expecting out of him. Regardless, it all helped result in a DePaul victory.
Other key contributors seem to be the new usual suspects. Tommy Hamilton scored 13 points and grabbed five rebounds. Granted, the talented freshman has to do better on the glass, but he did make a three-pointer, so I suppose all can be forgiven.
It was also nice to see Billy Garrett Jr. being slightly more efficient. Now, he wasn't exactly great from the floor, although, he was aggressive enough to get to the free throw line often and converted 7-of-9 attempts.
At the end of the day, though, this is a game that DePaul was supposed to win. Much like their previous game against Southern Miss, that resulted in a loss. It would have been easy for the Blue Demons to be down against Wright State, so to their credit their bouncing back is a good sign for the long haul.
Up next for DePaul is the Milwaukee Panthers. So yeah, it's another non-conference game that they should win. But still, these early games are going to be key for Purnell and company to find ways to not be so reliant upon Melvin as well as Young and to find new, possibly younger players to start emerging as consistent contributors.