Eli Cain scored a game-high 26 points to lead five DePaul players in double figures and help send host Blue Demons to an 83-73 victory over Cleveland State on Wednesday in Chicago.
Cain finished 9-for-14 from the field while pacing a balanced scoring attack. Jalen Coleman-Lands added 15 points, Femi Olujobi and Paul Reed scored 11 points each, and Jaylen Butz had 10.
DePaul’s Max Strus compiled eight points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
Cleveland State lost its fourth consecutive game despite matching DePaul with five double-figure scorers. Tyree Appleby led the Vikings with 15 points. Seth Millner (13), Jaalam Hill (12), Kasheem Thomas (11) and Stefan Kenic (11) were next. Kenic added eight rebounds.
Appleby drilled two of Cleveland State’s four treys in the first 4:02 of the second half, helping the visitors take a 45-43 lead. Moments later, it was DePaul’s turn to make a run, as Cain contributed four points to an 8-0 surge that gave the Blue Demons a 54-48 lead with 12:24 to play.
Cleveland State threatened down the stretch but was unable to take the lead again. Appleby split a pair of free throws to bring the Vikings within 69-67 with 4:41 to go, but Cleveland State came no closer.
The Blue Demons shot 50 percent (15-for-30) in a closely contested first 20 minutes and took a 34-31 lead into halftime. After a Millner trey with 17:18 left in the first half gave the Vikings an early 8-2 cushion, the Blue Demons responded with a 10-0 run over the next 3:28.
DePaul’s 12-8 lead marked its largest advantage of the first half. A Millner 3-pointer at the 5:11 mark of the first half gave the Vikings a 28-25 lead, but Olujobi’s three-point play tied the game nine seconds later.
The Blue Demons closed the half on a 9-3 run behind steady rebounding and defense. DePaul outrebounded Cleveland State, 22-14, in the first half while Reed recorded three of his six blocks.
Overall, DePaul had a 39-30 rebounding edge.
DePaul evened the overall series between the schools at one game apiece. The Vikings defeated the Blue Demons, 90-75, on Jan. 15, 1986, in Rosemont, Ill.
—Field Level Media