MINNEAPOLIS — Charlie Moore scored 21 points, dished out 12 assists and had five steals on Friday as DePaul defeated Minnesota 73-68.
Jalen Coleman-Lands added 11 points for the Blue Demons (8-0), while Paul Reed had 11 points, nine boards and a career-high seven blocked shots.
Daniel Oturu led the Golden Gophers (3-4) with 19 points, 18 rebounds and four blocked shots. Payton Willis scored 16 points, Alihan Demir added 14 and Gabe Kalscheur chipped in 11.
DePaul led by as much as 11 and kept Minnesota at arm’s length for most of the game, but when an 8-0 Minnesota run cut the Blue Devils’ lead to 65-63, Moore went to work.
First, he ended the DePaul scoring drought with a floater in heavy traffic. A minute later, he stole a pass at midcourt and went the distance for a layup to put DePaul back up 69-63 with just over 4 minutes to play.
The Gophers had their chances down the stretch. With a minute to go and trailing by five, a Minnesota steal sprung Willis for a breakaway, but he ended up missing a contested layup that would have made it a one-possession game.
Then with the score 71-68 and 10 seconds to play, Minnesota’s Bryan Greenlee stole an inbounds pass. After a timeout, the Gophers drew up a play to get it to Kalscheur for a potential game-tying 3, but Jaylen Butz blocked the shot.
DePaul led for most of the first half, and when Romeo Weems converted a layup in transition with 2 minutes to go, it gave the Blue Devils their largest lead of the half at 35-24. Minnesota countered with a 9-0 run to close the half. Two baskets by Oturu led to Willis’ third 3-pointer with just 3 seconds left to pull the Gophers to within 35-33 at the break.
DePaul: The Blue Demons’ 8-0 start is their best season-opening run since 1986-87, when they bolted out of the gate 16-0. It’ll be hard for Top 25 voters to ignore DePaul after their third road victory over a Power 5 conference team in the past three weeks.
Minnesota: Instead of fattening up on cupcakes, Richard Pitino put together a tough nonconference schedule. Three of the Gophers’ losses so far have been against Power 5 teams — and the fourth was at Butler. They’ve got one more big nonconference test on their hands next week before opening Big Ten play at Iowa on Dec. 9.
DePaul: The Blue Demons host Texas Tech on Wednesday in the first year of the Big 12/Big East Battle. The schools have met just twice, with the Blue Demons winning both, the most recent being a home-court victory in 2011.