Melvin leads DePaul past Auburn, 80-76

JOHN ZENOR AP Sports Writer Published:

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) -- Cleveland Melvin scored 21 points and made a steal and two free throws late to lift DePaul to an 80-76 victory over Auburn Friday night in the SEC/Big East Challenge.

Melvin swiped a pass from Rob Chubb as the Tigers tried to set up for at least a tying basket. He drove for a layup with 13 seconds left but was fouled by Noel Johnson and put the game away for the Blue Demons (4-3). Brandon Young scored 19 points and had five assists for DePaul, which has won two straight games.

Melvin made 9 of 13 free-throw attempts and had 10 rebounds to follow up a 30-point game against Fairfield. Worrel Clahar hit two second-half 3-pointers and had 11 points.

Frankie Sullivan scored a career-high 28 points for Auburn (2-5), which has lost four in a row. Chubb had 17 points and 13 rebounds.

Sullivan, who had 20 first-half points, also dished out five assists. He made his first four 3-pointers before missing his last three against a trapping, pressing defense that frequently denied him the ball in the second half.

Johnson added 10 points.

DePaul shot 50 percent (12 of 24) in the second half to overcome a 19 of 33 performance from the free-throw line.

The Tigers went cold as the Blue Demons turned up the defensive heat, making just 12 of 31 shots (38.7 percent) after halftime.

Johnson hit two 3-pointers to tie the game at 72 with 3:33 left.

Then Melvin hit 1 of 2 free throws and Clahar drilled a 3-pointer with 2:15 to play. Auburn twice cut it to two points after that, the second time on a Sullivan drive with a minute left.

The Blue Demons pushed the ball across midcourt before calling timeout. Young drove along the baseline and fired a pass to the opposite side to Melvin, who missed a 3-pointer.

He made sure DePaul got the ball back before Auburn could attempt a shot, when Chubb got caught with the ball around the 3-point line.

Auburn had led 46-42 at halftime after Sullivan made two technical foul free throws with a minute left. Young had made a 3-pointer but then was called for a technical for taunting Auburn students.