"It was very physical," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. "The Big East … I equate it to being in the red zone in football. Everybody puts their hands on (opposing players) every cut. That's one of the reasons in college basketball the scoring is way down … because you have very little freedom of movement. College basketball has become a very defensive game."
Smith also had five assists and four steals. Louisville forced DePaul into 19 turnovers and out-rebounded the Blue Demons 46-33.
DePaul opened with an 8-0 run before giving up 10 straight points. It trailed only by only eight points with 7 minutes, 15 seconds to go before falling apart.
"When Russ Smith passes, we have a big-time chance of being a great team," Pitino said. "When he doesn't, and he gambles on defense, we're just a mediocre team. But if we totally buy in offensively and defensively, we have got the makings of a great team. And (Smith) did that in the second half. He didn't do it in the first half."
Louisville (23-5, 11-4 Big East) has won seven of its last eight games, the only loss being in five overtimes on Feb. 9 at Notre Dame. DePaul has lost 12 of 13.
DePaul (11-17, 2-13) barely extended its streak of games with at least one 3-point shot converted to 607. Young sank one with 2:58 left.
Meanwhile, DePaul also extended a negative streak. They have lost 42 straight games to ranked teams. DePaul's last victory over a ranked team was Jan. 3, 2008 against Villanova (84-76).
"I can't really put my finger on (DePaul's failures) because (Oliver Purnell) is a terrific coach," Pitino said. "I've been around him a long time. Their staff is great. They have players who play their tails off, play really hard. They had two overtime losses to Notre Dame.
"Sooner or later they are going to get a break and they are going to get on a little run. Players are going to get confident. Once they taste winning, they are going to have a tremendous hunger for it. It's tough every single night not to get rewarded because they are playing so hard."