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DePaul 91, UC Riverside 59

The SportsXchange

CHICAGO -- Brandon Young scored 20 points and Cleveland Melvin added 16 to help DePaul to an 91-59 victory over UC-Riverside on Friday.

The game, played McGrath-Phillips Arena, was a season-opener for both teams as well as the kickoff of DePaul's 90th basketball season.

The Blue Demons (1-0) turned a tentative 10-point halftime lead into a 24-point bulge as Melvin punctuated a 10-0 run with back-to-back steals and scores on the way to a 61-37 lead with 12:08 to play.

The Highlanders (0-1) never got closer than 18 while the Blue Demons' lead topped 30 points with a late three-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, had nine points and sat out part of the second half with a leg injury.

Young scored eight first-half points to help the Blue Demons to a 39-28 halftime lead over UC-Riverside.

DePaul had 11 turnovers and was out rebounded 21-17 in the first half, but built an edge with 6-of-14 shooting from beyond the arc. UC-Riverside, by contrast, hit just 1-for-7.

The Highlanders crept to within three points with 8:06 remaining in the half, but the Blue Demons restored some breathing room with a 9-1 run over next 3:08 and maintained a double-digit lead much of the rest of the first half.

Friday's meeting was the first-ever between the teams. DePaul resumes play next Thursday at Allstate Arena against Gardner-Webb as part of the Cancun Challenge.

NOTES: DePaul went 12-19 overall a year ago while UC Riverside posted a 14-17 record and 7-9 in the Big West ... The Highlanders will remain in Chicago and meet Illinois-Chicago at the Pavilion at 1 p.m. Sunday.

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