Oliver Purnell’s DePaul Stint Begins with Begins by Blowing Out Chicago State

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The first game of the Oliver Purnell era at DePaul will be described in the college basketball history books as perhaps: sloppy, uneven, foul-heavy, fast-paced, high-scoring and extremely high-energy.

DePaul beat Chicago State beat 114-81 in their opener, an excellent redemption after an embarrassing loss in their lone exhibition versus Lewis.

“It’s only the first game so I don’t want to get all that excited for it. The freshmen are all excited because it’s their first college win, and I’m happy for them but we still need to grind it out all season,” said Demons leading returning scorer Mike Stovall.

Given the fast pace of this game, I half-expected Kyle Lee Watson to get into a fist-fight with Birdie at some point.

(The shootout championship in “Above the Rim”…did that film reference not work? Should I have said Duane Martin vs. Tupac Shakur? Anyway that fictional basketball game is the only game of hoops I’ve seen which moved as fast as this one)

By Paul M. Banks

DePaul played it’s one and only game this season at McGrath Arena, their on-campus facility. The 2,200 seat venue was about 60-70% full, but provided a nice cozy atmosphere and a loud LIVELY crowd. It’s in-the-heart-of-the-Lincoln Park campus location makes it SO MUCH EASIER to get to than Allstate Arena and the University should consider playing more games at McGrath, if the NCAA and the Big East will allow.

Purnell began his career with a W in a game where his opponent played defense resembling the Indiana Hoosiers football team.

John Templon of Chicago College Basketball broke down how they got the best of CSU on the other end of the floor:

“The Blue Demons’ press really seemed to get to Chicago State at times and it shows as DePaul forced 30 turnovers and Chicago State shot 43.1 percent from the field for the game.”

After getting career win #395, the new coach described what he must do to get  to 400 quickly:

“Rebounding, rebounding, rebounding,” Purnell said. “That finishes your defense. If you do all this stuff and the shot goes up and they get the rebound then you know it can be all for naught and it can be very frustrating. So we have to be a better gang rebounding team.”

Purnell also talked about how his team set the tone with a win Sunday night, and how it important that is before taking on a stronger opponent (Western Carolina) Tuesday night at Allstate Arena.”I think that’s always good, but more importantly we set the tone last spring with how hard we worked, we set the tone with how we practice. I said last week that maybe it’s a good thing we got beat in that exhibition because you listen more. Sometimes when you get better, things comes too fast, and you get cocky, and you forget how hard it is to get better,” Purnell said.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net , a Midwest webzine. He’s also a regular contributor to the Tribune’s Chicago Now network, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker Network, and Fox Sports.com

You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank

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