ROSEMONT, Ill. -- Cashmere Wright scored 20 points despite leaving early with an injury, and Cincinnati held off a late DePaul comeback for a 75-70 Big East victory Tuesday at Allstate Arena.
Wright, the Bearcats' second-leading scorer (14.8 points per game), hurt his right knee less than five minutes into the second half and did not return.
The victory was the second straight for Cincinnati (15-3, 3-2). Sean Kilpatrick finished with 18 points for the Bearcats, and JaQuon Parker added 10.
Cleveland Melvin scored a game-high 32 points, Brandon Young had 18 and Charles McKinney added 10 for DePaul (10-7, 1-3). The Blue Demons lost for the fourth time in five games.
Cincinnati led just 41-38 at halftime but extended the advantage to double digits in the first 3:41. Wright hit a 3-pointer and scored on two drives, while and Kilpatrick added another 3-pointer for a 51-38 Bearcats lead.
Wright was injured with 15:12 to go when he appeared to extend his leg while defending just outside the paint to the right of DePaul's basket. He was helped off the court and later rejoined his teammates on the bench.
DePaul trailed 70-59 with 1:03 to play, but Melvin scored six points, cutting the Bearcats' lead to 73-70 with 7.9 seconds to play.
Kilpatrick secured the win with two free throws with 7.2 seconds remaining.
Tuesday's game was the 50th all time between the programs, with the Bearcats holding a 35-15 lead. Cincinnati has won each of its past five games against the Blue Demons.
DePaul employed an effective full court press and forced four Cincinnati turnovers on the way to a 13-2 lead less than four minutes in, including a 9-0 opening run. Melvin had five early points.
The Bearcats shook off the sluggish start with 15 unanswered points from six different players over a 6:19 span to take a 17-15 lead with 8:38 showing.
Cincinnati later opened a 36-30 lead on a Cheikh Mbodj dunk, but Melvin scored twice over next 28 seconds as DePaul forced a 36-36 tie. Wright put the Bearcats ahead for good with a 3-pointer with 1:14 to go, and Cincinnati held a 41-38 halftime lead.
Wright closed with 13 first-half points, while Melvin had 15 before the break.
NOTES: Nine NBA scouts were on hand, including former DePaul coach Joey Meyer, now working for the Los Angeles Clippers. ... The game was the second of four in a 10-day stretch for Cincinnati that began Saturday at Rutgers and concludes Jan. 21 at Syracuse, ... DePaul has been idle since a 99-78 loss at Connecticut on Jan. 8. ... DePaul's Brandon Young was among five players on the Big East honor roll this week after scoring a career-high 35 points in last week's loss at Connecticut. ... The Big East has four teams in the Associated Press Top 25, including new No. 1 Louisville. Cincinnati dropped out after losing two of its last three. ... DePaul will induct two legends -- Stanley Brundy and Terence Greene -- into the school's Hall of Fame on Saturday. Both had four-year careers (1985-89) and helped the Blue Demons twice advance to the NCAA Sweet 16. ... The Bearcats beat the Blue Demons 74-66 at Fifth Third Arena on Feb. 4, 2012, with Dion Dixon and Sean Kilpatrick scoring 16 points apiece. ... Both teams resume conference play Saturday. DePaul plays host to St. John's, while Marquette plays at Cincinnati.