The DePaul Blue Demons (1-0) opened the 2012-2013 season Friday night with a rout of UC Riverside, defeating them 91-59 at McGrath Phillips Arena in Chicago, IL. The potent, junior duo of Brandon Young and Cleveland Melvin led DePaul in the victory. Young finished with 20 points and five assists, while Melvin added 16 points, seven rebounds and five steals.
The Blue Demons excelled in both facets of the game, which led to their 32 point win. DePaul was efficient offensively, shooting 49.3% from the field and 52.4% from the three point line. Although there were only two double-digit scorers for DePaul, 12 Blue Demons scored Friday night. Additionally, the DePaul bench outscored UC Riverside's 33-10. "The bench brings great energy," Young said. "Those guys bring great energy, push the ball and play defense. We all feed off that."
Defensively, DePaul was just as strong, particularly in the first half. DePaul held UC Riverside to 37.9% shooting from the field in the first half, including 11 turnovers. Head coach Oliver Purnell was pleased with his team's defense. "Once we found our rhythm, I thought our on-ball defense was really good," Purnell said. "Our rebounding was good. The pressure's there, it gives you a flurry or two. That's the recipe." Purnell was referring to his team's intense pressure defensively, which led to 13 steals for DePaul.
UC Riverside's leading scorer in its preseason was center Chris Patton, who scored 25 points on 10/11 shooting from the field in the team's exhibition win. DePaul limited Patton to six points on 3/9 shooting from the field.
Young led DePaul to a 39-28 lead in the first half, with eight points and four assists. Donnovan Kirk added five points, three rebounds and two blocks. Worrel Clahar provided scoring off the bench, with six points off two three pointers. The Blue Demons showed balance, with nine players scoring in the first half. DePaul led thanks to its three point shooting and defense. The Blue Demons made 42.9% of its three's, making 6 out of 14.
DePaul came out firing in the second half, going on a 12-0 run from the 15:58 mark to the 11:53 mark, as their lead jumped out to 61-38. Young felt it was crucial for the Blue Demons to set the tone in the second half, and not let up. "In the locker room I just stressed to the guys, we got 20 more minutes of basketball," Young said. "It's not over yet."
Much like the exhibition game against Lewis, Melvin finished the game very strongly. He scored 12 points in the second half (he had four in the first half) and added four steals as well. He provided the crowd with several impressive dunks, including an alley-oop from Clahar on a fastbreak he ignited with a steal. Young added 12 points of his own in the second half, as UC Riverside didn't have an answer for the inside-outside combo of Melvin and Young.
DePaul's next game is Thursday against Gardner-Webb at the All State Arena.