CHICAGO -- Brandon Young hit one career milestone and closed in on another as DePaul turned a complete 40-minute effort in an 84-50 non-conference victory over Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Sunday at Allstate Arena.
The Blue Demons junior guard, making his 70th career start, had three assists to hit 300 for his career. He also scored 13 points, leaving him six shy of 1,000.
Donnavan Kirk, meanwhile, led a balanced DePaul attack with 14 points. Jamee Crockett joined Young with 13, and Cleveland Melvin added 11 points.
Paris Gulley paced the Panthers with 14 points.
"We came out strong and focused to get the job done from the beginning," said reserve guard Worrel Clahar, who collected a game-high eight rebounds and a career-high 10 assists. "And they beat us here last year so it feels good, it was a little bit of payback."
The victory was the fourth straight for DePaul (6-3) and the Blue Demons'
11th in 12 meetings with Milwaukee (3-7).
DePaul struggled in the first half last Wednesday at Chicago State, but head coach Oliver Purnell found no issues during Sunday's matinee.
"It was maybe our best overall effort all season," Purnell said. "We came out with a hard edge and grabbed the game by the throat. I like the way we sprinted out of the first half. We were businesslike and defensive-minded."
Milwaukee scored two early baskets for a short-lived lead. However, by
the midpoint of the first half DePaul led 23-11 on 10-of-20 shooting,
including 14 unanswered points that featured a pair of Moses Morgan 3-pointers.
The Panthers had just three field goals and five points from free throws
in that span.
"We didn't make shots," Panthers coach Rob Jeter said. "We had some good looks there in that (first half) stretch, took a lot of quick threes and they got some run-outs for layups and that started our problems."
The Blue Demons led 32-15 after a Kirk jumper with 5:28 to play in the
half. Milwaukee replied with six straight points -- including a pair of
Gulley jumpers -- to temporarily cut the DePaul lead to 11.
A Kirk jam pushed the lead to 34-21, and the Blue Demons closed the half
with a 11-4 run to establish a 45-27 lead. Melvin and Crockett had nine
points apiece before the break, while Gulley paced the Panthers with 12.
DePaul dominated the second half, pushing the lead to 72-37 on a Kirk
layup with 8:17 remaining. Reserves played the balance of the game.
The Blue Demons had one of their best shooting nights of the season, going 35-of-70 from the field (50 percent). They outrebounded the Panthers 47-39, and
DePaul also dominated in the paint with a 52-20 advantage. The Blue Demons also outscored Milwaukee 25-7 off turnovers.
Milwaukee managed to shoot just 16-of-62 (25.8 percent) from the field and hit just one of 17 tries from beyond the 3 point line.
Both teams resume play Wednesday, with DePaul visiting Arizona State and
Milwaukee playing at Fairfield. The Blue Demons return to Allstate Arena
next Sunday against Northern Illinois.
NOTES: The Panthers' Gulley, who is from Peoria, Ill., is averaging 18.8
points in four games since returning from a broken wrist sustained in
October. ... Through the season's first eight games, Melvin and Young were
averaging a combined 35.4 points per game, just over half of DePaul's entire offensive
production. ... The Panthers have lost six of their past seven games. They
broke a five-game losing streak with Friday's 80-73 overtime victory against
Northern Illinois. ... Purnell cleared the bench Sunday, using all 15 players on his roster for the third time this season.