DePaul men’s basketball is off to their best start in 11 years after blowout of Iowa
IOWA CITY – Finding success has been difficult for DePaul just after Dave Leitao left for the first time and since he returned in 2015.
But as the coach returned from his three-game NCAA suspension on Monday night, his Blue Demons are producing as much positivity early as the program has seen the past decade.
In a dominating performance from start to finish, DePaul went on the road to Big Ten opponent Iowa and crushed the hosts 93-78 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. They improved to 4-0 on the season and were rarely challenged in Leitao’s return to the bench as the Blue Demons won their first four games since the 2008-2009 season.
As he has early this season, junior Paul Reed continues to help jumpstart DePaul’s attack as he scored a game-high 25 points to go along with 11 rebounds. Last year’s most improved player in the Big East and the conference’s leading rebounder, Reed is already averaging 14.8 points and 10.3 rebounds a contest in the first four games.
Another returning player, guard Jalen Coleman-Lands, enjoyed arguably his best game as a member of the Blue Demons as he added 17 points along with five assists. The former Illinois guard is coming off a tough first season with the program in which he missed 27 games with a broken hand, and right now is looking to find his fit in the lineup.
Monday was a little quieter game for a critical newcomer to the roster – guard Charlie Moore. The former Morgan Park High School star who transferred from Kansas in 2017 added eight points and five assists to the win over the Hawkeyes but still leads the team in scoring with 16.5 points per game. All of these players made big contributions on a night where DePaul shot 61 percent from the floor while dishing out 20 assists.
These are all early accomplishments for a team with plenty of games left in this season to attempt to qualify for their first NCAA Tournament since 2004. It’s too early to know if these Blue Demons have the ability to make that happen, but a strong start to a season that includes a blowout of a Big Ten opponent brings some much-needed positivity to the program.