The fun's over for No. 18 DePaul. The real season starts Friday.
"You can't get a lot out of the games so far," Blue Demons coach Pat Kennedy said Thursday after his team's second straight blowout victory, 114-69, over American University at Puerto Rico. "Things begin for us with Texas."
DePaul faces No. 20 Texas, an 88-71 winner over Arizona State, in the winners' bracket of the Puerto Rico Shootout. That winner most likely takes on No. 3 Michigan State, who also won easily in its opening game here, 82-58, over Providence.
With the high-flying McPherson and the smooth Quentin Richardson, the Blue Demons are in pretty good shape.
"It's tough when you go through games like this," said Richardson, who also had 23 points.
Kennedy said Texas' physical front line of Chris Mihm, Gabe Muoneke and Chris Owens will be a handful. The Blue Demons are without 6-foot-9 center Lance Williams, who broke his foot in October.
But before Texas had to come American. McPherson had 17 points i the first half as DePaul (2-0) quickly put away the only home team in the Puerto Rico Shootout.
American University (0-1), an NCAA Division II team and yearly host of the holiday tournament, had little chance. Their tallest players, Juan Hernandez and Alex Rodriguez, are both 6-foot-6 freshmen. But every sweet pass or pretty basket energized the crowd of about 300, who came to cheer the locals with ponpons and Puerto Rican flags.
When Joe Rodriguez ended DePaul's 8-0 run with a 3-pointer, it was if hometown pop king Ricky Martin walked on the court.
But those moments were few as DePaul pushed its lead to larger and larger margins.
"It's tough for them when you have to play teams that you're so much smaller than," Kennedy said. "They fought us hard."
McPherson, a junior college transfer who hit for 22 points in his big-time college debut last week, scored eight points in DePaul's 18-2 run.
After Rodriguez feathered in a 3-pointer, Richardson drained a long one seven seconds later. The Pirates will play Arizona State next.
McPherson rumbled in for two more dunks, each higher and more ferocious than his last, and the Blue Demons were ahead 58-27.
The second half was more of the same. DePaul held the Pirates scoreless for more than five minutes and led 81-39 on Joe Tulley's free throw with 13:15 left.
Rodriguez had four 3-pointers and led American with 19 points.
The most excitement came when American's Rafael Ortiz put McPherson down with a hard foul that was ruled intentional. The home fans booed the call and booed McPherson, who made both foul shots and a layup on the extra possession.
DePaul coach Pat Kennedy put his first team back in after American managed an 8-0 that sliced the lead to 85-51.
It was the second straight runaway victory for DePaul, which defeated Howard 105-61 to open its season Nov. 20. The Blue Demons put together back-to-back 100-point games for the first time since the 1968-69 season.
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