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NCAA Hoops: DePaul ends Big East skid; 'Cats win

NCAA Hoops: DePaul ends Big East skid; 'Cats win

Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011
Posted 10:38 p.m.

Associated Press

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - DePaul's 24-game losing streak in Big East play ended Thursday night with a 79-76 victory over Providence.

Jeremiah Kelly scored a career-high 23 points to lead the Blue Demons to their first conference victory since they defeated Marquette more than a year ago and their first road victory since they topped Cincinnati on March 6, 2008.

Cleveland Melvin scored 20 for DePaul (7-18, 1-12 Big East) and Brandon Young put up 17 points, including 15 in the second half.

After the Blue Demons built a 10-point halftime lead, Providence (14-12, 3-10 Big East) slowly came back, eventually tying the score at 58.

DePaul put together a quick seven-point spurt to regain control, and the Friars were unable to come back. Marshon Brooks led Providence with 28 points, including 10 of his team's final 12. Duke Mondy added 17 points and seven rebounds.

Box Score

Northwestern holds off Iowa 73-70

EVANSTON, Ill. - Michael Thompson scored 16 points and had 10 assists to lead Northwestern to a 73-70 win over Iowa on Thursday night.

After freshman Melsahn Basabe had a putback to get Iowa within 69-66, Luka Mirkovic answered for Northwestern (15-10, 5-9 Big Ten) with a 3-pointer to give them a 72-66 lead with 1:46 left.

But the Wildcats had to hold on in the final minute. Bryce Cartwright hit a jumper and Jarryd Cole had a tip-in to get the Hawkeyes within 72-70 with 5.2 seconds left. Iowa quickly fouled Thompson, who missed the first of two free throws and made the second. Iowa's Zach McCabe threw a full-court pass to Cole, who turned the ball over when he tried to kick it out for a 3.

Cole scored 17 points and Basabe added 13 for Iowa (10-16, 3-11).

Box Score
UMKC outlasts Western Illinois 66-61

MACOMB, Ill. - Jay Couisnard scored 31 points and UMKC defeated Western Illinois 66-61 Thursday night.

Reggie Chamberlain added 14 points for the Kangaroos (16-10, 9-6 Summit League).

UMKC built a 25-9 lead in the first half, but Western Illinois went on a 15-0 run in the second half to take a 41-39 lead with 10:39 to play. Couisnard hit a 3-pointer to give UMKC a 47-44 lead with 7:45 remaining, and the Kangaroos stayed ahead the rest of the way.

Matt Lander scored 24 points for the Leathernecks (7-19, 2-13), who have lost nine in a row. Kaimarr Price had nine points and eight rebounds for Western Illinois.

Box Score
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Say it ain't so: DePaul commit Tyger Campbell reopens recruitment

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AP

Say it ain't so: DePaul commit Tyger Campbell reopens recruitment

It looks like it was too good to be true.

Tyger Campbell shocked the recruiting world when he committed to DePaul on May 8.

Less than four months later, Campbell has reopened his recruitment.

The Rivals.com four-star point guard out of La Lumiere High School in Indiana, who is the No. 66 prospect in the 2018 Class, took to Twitter Friday night to explain his decision.

One of Campbell's original draws to the Blue Demons was DePaul hiring Shane Heirman as an assistant coach. Heirman coached Campbell for two seasons at La Lumiere.

"I like DePaul and honestly my coach (Shane Heirman) just went there and we have a great connection and he's always had my back," Campbell told Scout.com when he committed to the Blue Demons. "I like [DePaul] coach Dave Leitao, too. I like his program and he's an intelligent guy."

Campbell currently has offers from a handful of D1 schools, including Illinois, Michigan State, Ole Miss, Purdue, SMU, Memphis and Tennessee.

Upset alert? Why a confident UIC is challenging juggernaut Kentucky

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USA TODAY

Upset alert? Why a confident UIC is challenging juggernaut Kentucky

On the heels of a 12-win improvement, UIC basketball is riding confidently into the new season. 

And why shouldn't they be? Head coach Steve McClain returns a young, talented nucleus that's expected to challenge for a Horizon League championship and NCAA Tournament berth. 

In fact, the program is in such good shape that they thought: Let's play Kentucky. 

Yup, that's right. The UIC Flames will match up with the Kentucky Wildcats at Rupp Arena on Nov. 26, a necessary stage in development, according to McClain. 

“Every year you build your program, there’s steps you have to take," McClain said. "When we got the opportunity to go to Kentucky, I think that’s the next level of exposure for our program.

"When you're chasing trying to be great, you gotta show your kids and show people what greatness looks like. I don't think anyone can argue what Kentucky has done, so I want to put our kids in that environment so they see what it is." 

The contrast between programs is severe. UIC hasn't made an NCAA Tournament since 2004. The Wildcats have made 11 since then. UIC has never advanced out of the first round at the Big Dance. Kentucky has eight National Championships. 

Even this upcoming season, as the Flames boast one of their most skilled teams in school history, none of them were ever touted like Kentucky's freshman class, which ranks No. 2 in the nation per ESPN. 

But the disparities in past successes don't seem to bother UIC. Instead, players, who were likely snubbed by bigger schools in recruitment, are excited about the opportunity to compete on a national stage that the Flames rarely see. 

“First I was like, ‘It’s about time we got someone like (Kentucky) on our schedule,’" said center Tai Odiase, one of the few seniors on the roster. "We’ve been trying to play bigger teams to showcase what we’re made of."

“I don’t see why you go into a place like that without a chip on your shoulder. You don’t go in there just to play basketball, we’re trying to win."

UIC will be heavy, heavy underdogs. There's no way around that. But there are certain spots where they may not be at such a disadvantage. 

On the defensive end, Odiase continued to terrorize guards and big men alike, finishing fifth in the NCAA with 2.9 blocks per game. The dynamic guard duo from "The Six," Godwin Boahen and Marcus Ottey, are quick enough to hang and both took a huge step down the stretch last season. Then there's the return of 2015-2016 Horizon League Newcomer of the Year Dikembe Dixson, who is recovering from a torn ACL.

"The doctors at times thought he was a freak of nature because he was back as quick as he was," McClain said.  

Still, it's a tune-up game for Kentucky, who also scheduled Kansas, UCLA and Louisville on their non-conference slate. But one team's expected walk through is another team's vital experience. 

"Our guys can walk in and see that on a given night, you can compete with anyone," McClain said. 

Given new athletic director Garrett Klassy's comments at his introductory press conference, it doesn't seem as if games like this are a one-hit wonder for UIC. 

“I am an aggressive scheduler," Klassy said. "I helped with the scheduling at George Washington. We’ll play anyone, anytime, anywhere.

"You want to measure yourself against the best. We have a lot of returning starters. It’ll be nice to go on the road, play a tough game and maybe sneak out an upset."