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DePaul (9-5) at Providence (8-5)

The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 5, 8 p.m. (et)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Dunkin' Donuts Center (12,410) -- Providence, Rhode Island. Television: MASN, SNY, Big East Net. Home Record: DePaul 6-3, Providence 7-0. Away Record: DePaul 3-0, Providence 0-3. Neutral Record: DePaul 0-2, Providence 1-2. Conference Record: DePaul 0-1, Providence 0-1. Series Record: Providence leads, 22-7.

GAME NOTES: Two teams searching for their first Big East Conference win of the season square off on Saturday night, as the Providence Friars and the DePaul Blue Demons meet at the Dunkin' Donuts Center.

Both teams opened their conference slates with a loss, as Providence fell to Louisville on Wednesday, 80-62, while DePaul came up short in a 73-72 decision against Seton Hall.

Providence lost for the third straight time in the setback to the fourth- ranked Cardinals, as Kadeem Batts and Bryce Cotton tallied 17 and 16 points, respectively.

DePaul, meanwhile, was led by Jamee Crockett's 16 points and five steals. Brandon Young netted 15 points while Durrell McDonald shot 5-of-6 from the floor for 12 points. Charles McKinney had 10 points.

The Blue Demons had a chance to win at the buzzer, but Crockett missed on a good look from 18 feet away.

Providence has dominated the series with DePaul, taking 22 of the 29 previous matchups. The Friars have also owned the relationship since the two have been conference rivals, winning seven of the nine meetings.

Cotton, who returned to Providence's lineup after missing the game against Brown with a sore knee, has scored 21 or more points in eight of the 11 games he has played this season, and he leads the team and ranks second in the Big East in scoring with 21.5 ppg. He has also connected on a team high 36 3- pointers and has handed out 41 assists. The Friars also recently saw All-Big East guard Vincent Council return to the lineup after getting injured in the season-opener and missing the first 10 games. Last season, Council led the team in scoring (15.9 ppg) and the conference in assists (7.5 apg).

DePaul will need Cleveland Melvin to get going if the team is to have a chance in this contest. After having his streak of double-digit scoring outings end at 26 last Friday against Loyola-Chicago, the junior forward managed just six points and three rebounds in the recent loss to Seton Hall. Still, he leads the team with 16.3 ppg and 7.6 rpg. Young is right behind him at 16.1 ppg, as those two are the only double-digit scorers on the team right now.

The Blue Demons are normally pretty tough to beat if the Melvin and Young one- two punch is working, Melvin, though, hasn't been the player he was at the start of the season. Providence is just starting to get itself healthy and should escape with the home win on Saturday.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Providence 73, DePaul 67

01/05 10:38:20 ET

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