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Demons too much
Nobody gave DePaul University much respect when they made the preseason forecasts for the Great Midwest Conference this season, but the Blue Demons look like a team that will be in the thick of the league race.
Cutting up the University of Dayton's defense as if they were a team of surgeons, the Blue Demons spoiled the Flyers GMW debut Monday night by winning, 98-86, before a crowd of 10,241 at the UD Arena.
While winning its seventh straight game, DePaul made nearly 60 percent of its shots.
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Forward Tom Kleinschmidt scored 20 points, guard Belefia Parks had 19, forward Kris Hill had 16 and guard Brandon Cole had 15 as the Blue Demons boosted their record to 8-1.
Returning to a spot in UD's starting lineup, sophomore guard Darnell Hahn scored a career-high 19 points to lead the Flyers, who got 17 from Chip Hare, 14 each from Alex Robertson and Andy Meyer plus 10 from Derrick Dukes.
The Flyers hung with the Blue Demons for 29 minutes before slipping too far behind to make a game of it at the end.
The loss lowered Dayton's record to 4-5.
"We played defense tonight like our feet were in mud," UD Coach Jim O'Brien said. "It was a disappointing defensive effort."
DePaul made a significant number of outside shots to repel each Dayton advance, but the key to the victory was the number of times the Blue Demons penetrated the Dayton defense for easy shots.
Meanwhile, the Flyers were unable to score inside against a collapsing DePaul defense and did most of their shooting from outside.
"We can't win in this conference unless we play better defense than we did tonight," O'Brien said. "We didn't communicate and get our assignments done."
Dayton tied its single-game school record with 14 3-point goals, but the Flyers had to shoot 39 times to get them - which says a lot about what their offense wasn't able to accomplish inside.
Kleinschmidt, who was credited with 5 assists, implied that UD didn't even see the real DePaul offense.
"To be honest," he said, "we didn't run our offense too well. We hit our shots, but we have to run the offense better. Overall, we didn't play very well."
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The Blue Demons didn't play very well last season when they had a 16-15 record and missed post season play, but they are much better this season.
Hahn, who had 18 points against Central Connecticut State, wasn't the same timid player who appeared in the early Dayton games. He came out firing. In fact, he probably fired too much.
The 6-foot-3 guard put up 21 shots, made six and was 5 of 13 from 3-point territory.
Although he exceeded his previous career high of 18 points, he wasn't in much of a mood to talk about it.
"We didn't win," Hahn said. "There's no reason to be happy."
Asked about his sudden willingness to shoot, he replied, "I got a lot of confidence in the Central Connecticut game and it's still there, so I'll continue to play hard and do what I got to do.”
Robertson blamed the loss on a lack of defensive intensity.
"We didn't compete as well as we did (Thursday night) against Miami," he said. "Talent-wise, it was a pretty even game. They shot well from the perimeter, but they also got easy shots under the basket."
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DePaul was playing without senior center Michael Ravizee, who had started all eight of the Blue Demons' games. Ravizee did not make the trip to Dayton after suffering back spasms at practice. He had started 22 consecutive games and had played in 41 straight.
The Blue Demons also were without reserve guard Dwayne Austin, who has tendinitis in his right knee. Austin had played in five games.
It was the 60th meeting of Dayton and DePaul and Dayton took a 32-27 edge into the contest.
The schools had played each other at least once a year since 1956 until the series was discontinued two years ago after DePaul officials were instrumental in luring Marquette and St. Louis away from their association with Dayton in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference.
DePaul is off to its best start since the 1986-87 season and the second best start in the 10 years Joey Meyer has been head coach. The best beginning was 17-0 in 1986-87.