Moore’s big day lifts DePaul over UIC


Ryan Gilroy | The DePaulia

Charlie Moore drives in during the second half against UIC. His 26 points helped DePaul improve to 10-1.

After DePaul suffered their first loss of the year to the hands of Buffalo last Sunday, head coach Dave Leitao and the Blue Demons knew they needed to right the ship. Far too often, losses can string together and ruin a team’s flow. Charlie Moore made sure that wouldn’t happen, as his 26 points and five assists helped DePaul control city-rival UIC on Saturday, winning 86-65 and improving to 10-1.

The first half opened up in a way that the Blue Demons have been through far too often this season. A start riddled with missed shots and rigid offense but defense to keep them within a possession or two. Down 11-8 after seven minutes while shooting 2-for-11, they came out with a little more life out of a timeout, taking a 19-15 lead a few minutes later. Jalen Coleman-Lands made his first two shots including a three and was the first bit of offense for the Blue Demons.

Lack of motion lead to lackluster shots and late-shot clock drives that weren’t ideal for DePaul. There wasn’t a lot going right out on the perimeter either, as UIC defenders refused to let off the ball-handlers. UIC forward Braelen Bridges got seven rebounds in the first 12 minutes of action furthering the early rebounding deficit.

The 15 point home favorites found their mark towards the end of the first 20 minutes. Paul Reed started to create some good looks for himself and then off a steal he took it down the other end and got fouled on a layup for an and-one and a 32-21 lead for DePaul. His nine-point burst put the Blue Demons comfortably ahead at the end of the first half. They’d go into the break leading 34-25.

“We turned around the 50/50 balls that we weren’t getting and we started to get them towards the tail end of the first half and I thought it energized us,” Leitao said.

DePaul forced 12 turnovers in the first half including three separate shot clock violations, one in which UIC didn’t even get a shot off.

In the second half, the Blue Demons continued their onslaught, opening it up to a 13 point lead. Freshman forward Nick Ongenda got some more minutes, and he delivered on both ends including a ferocious dunk early in the half on the fastbreak. He had six points in his first six minutes to go with a quick steal.

Ongenda stepped in for Jaylen Butz who picked up his third foul of the game early in the second half. Ongenda added in 15 minutes and Oscar Lopez Jr added seven, the two freshmen shared some court time as well in the win.

“It’s great because guys who are younger and easying their ways into minutes on the court, for them getting confidence and getting a feel for the game is tremendous,” Coleman-Lands said.

A Charlier Moore jumper lifted DePaul to a 50-35 lead, their largest of the night. From there on out, it was all about control for the Blue Demons, Moore would hit from three and drive in for a layup to make it 60-44 just a few minutes later. It was smooth sailing from there on for DePaul.

Moore, Reed, and Coleman-Lands would all end up in double-figures by the end of the game.

Paul Reed got his eighth double-double of the season. The NBA hopeful had he is averaging over 15 points and 10 rebounds a game and is tied for the most double-doubles in the country. His name has appeared on a few draft boards this past week, climbing up higher in the first round.

Reed’s extra impact meant the lead didn’t waver over the past few minutes of the game, moving the Blue Demons to 10-1 on the season.

Moore’s 26 points came with a 9-for-11 showing from the free-throw line.

“I want to be aggressive, have energy out there,” Moore said. “I think that comes along with getting to the free-throw line.”

The Blue Demons will turn their attention to a road trip against Cleveland State on Wednesday before they return to Wintrust Arena to face Northwestern to round out nonconference play.

“Coming out with two wins would be great,” Moore said. “We just want to go and attack it like today, 110 percent effort, defend and just play DePaul basketball.”

Devin Gage (ankle) is still day-to-day and went through a full practice this week. The junior guard hasn’t played since Nov. 16. Markese Jacobs (coach’s decision) did not play.