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DePaul rolling ahead of short trip to meet UIC

Sportsnaut
Dec 10, 2021; Louisville, Kentucky, USA;  DePaul Blue Demons forward David Jones (32) dribbles against Louisville Cardinals guard Dre Davis (14) during the second half at KFC Yum! Center. DePaul defeated Louisville 62-55. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 10, 2021; Louisville, Kentucky, USA; DePaul Blue Demons forward David Jones (32) dribbles against Louisville Cardinals guard Dre Davis (14) during the second half at KFC Yum! Center. DePaul defeated Louisville 62-55. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

DePaul’s David Jones quickly and persistently caught Louisville’s attention Friday.

Things hardly had changed by the time he put the wraps on a 33-point, 14-rebound double-double that keyed the Blue Demons’ 62-55 road win.

“He was a one-man wrecking crew,” Louisville coach Chris Mack said. “We had no answer for him, whether it was his (isolation) drives, getting to the rim and finishing … whether it was the cherry on top, just shooting 3s at the end. He made some big-time plays, coming up with loose balls and just breaking our back.”

Led by an aggressive frontcourt in their first game away from home this season, the surging Blue Demons (8-1) will try to keep rolling Tuesday as their three-game road swing continues with a visit to intracity rival Illinois-Chicago.

Nick Ongenda blocked a career-best eight shots at Louisville to go with eight points and nine rebounds. It proved a valuable complement to Jones, who contributed his second double-double of the season on a night DePaul channeled defense and rebounding while the Cardinals limited Blue Demons leading scorer Javon Freeman-Liberty to eight points.

UIC is coming off Saturday’s 71-67 win at Central Michigan. Kevin Johnson scored 14 points to pace four Flames in double figures.

UIC (3-6) snapped a five-game losing streak, leading throughout the game but still needing a Jalen Warren block of a potential go-ahead 3-pointer with five seconds to go. The Flames went 20 of 29 from the free-throw line, marking a season high in makes and attempts. The team also recorded a season high with six blocks.

“We tried to give it away a little bit, and then we seized it back,” Flames coach Luke Yaklich said. “I’m just really happy for our players.”

DePaul has won 34 of its past 41 nonconference games, including an 86-65 rout of visiting UIC on Dec. 14, 2019.

The Blue Demons lead the all-time series against the Flames 9-2 and enter on a three-game series winning streak, while taking seven of the last eight.

–Field Level Media