Brandon Young scored 20 points and Cleveland Melvin added 16 as DePaul opened its 90th season of basketball with a 91-59 victory over UC Riverside on Friday night.
Playing a rare game at on-campus McGrath-Phillips Arena, the Blue Demons pulled away in the second half, as they turned a 10-point halftime lead into a 24-point advantage with 12:08 showing in the second.
The Highlanders never got closer than 18 while the Blue Demons’ lead topped 30 points with a late 3-pointer from Stuart Pirri as reserves closed out the game.
Josh Fox scored 17 points while Austin Quick added 15 for UC Riverside. Robert Smith, the Highlanders’ top returning scorer, closed with nine. He sat out much of the second half with a leg injury.
DePaul struggled with 11 first-half turnovers and was outrebounded 21-17. But it built a 39-28 halftime edge thanks to 6-of-14 shooting from beyond the 3-point arc. UC Riverside, meanwhile, was just 1 for 7.
The Highlanders got to within 22-19 with 8:06 remaining in the half, but the Blue Demons opened a bigger margin with a 9-1 run over next 3:08 and their lead never slipped below six points on the way to a 39-28 halftime lead.
The tables turned in the second half as Riverside committed 13 turnovers and closed with 24 for the game while DePaul clamped down in the second half and closed with 13.
Friday’s meeting was the first between the teams.
DePaul played at on-campus Alumni Hall from 1956-80 before moving to Allstate Arena in suburban Rosemont. The Blue Demons still play occasional on-campus games, including three last year.
DePaul has not had a losing record on campus going back to 1942.
Friday’s game was the only scheduled on-campus match this season. UC Riverside visits Illinois-Chicago on Sunday while DePaul hosts Gardner-Webb in a Cancun Challenge match next Thursday at Allstate Arena.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.