Eli Cain scored 20 points and Max Strus added 18 to spark a balanced attack that led DePaul to an 81-71 victory against Incarnate Word on Wednesday night in Chicago.
Paul Reed had 14 points and six rebounds, while Femi Olujobi (11 points) and Devin Gage (10) followed, as all five starters scored in double figures.
The Blue Demons improved to 8-0 at Wintrust Arena, giving the program its best home start since the 1999-00 team also won its first eight home games of the season. DePaul is 8-2 to start a campaign for the first time since 2002-03.
Incarnate Word lost for the third straight game and has dropped six of its past seven under first-year coach Carson Cunningham.
Charles Brown III scored a game-high 27 points on 11-for-16 shooting to lead the Cardinals (5-8). Antoine Smith Jr. had 15 points and six rebounds, and Augustine Ene added nine points. Cardinals leading scorer Christian Peevy did not play.
The Cardinals drew within eight points with 11:40 to go, but DePaul responded with a 7-0 run to seize control. Brown hit a three at the 3:15 mark to cut the Incarnate Word deficit to 10 points, but the visitors were unable to negate the Blue Demons’ versatility down the stretch. DePaul shot 30 for 48 (62.5 percent) for the game.
DePaul rallied to take a 42-38 lead at halftime, gaining slight separation behind sterling long-range shooting from Cain. A 6-foot-6 senior guard, Cain drilled four treys over a span of 2:24 late in the first half to account for 12 successive Blue Demons points. Overall, DePaul shot 7 for 10 from 3-point range in the first 20 minutes as part of a 14-for-21 (66.7 percent) effort from the floor.
Incarnate Word challenged DePaul behind its own strong shooting. The Cardinals went 14 for 27 from the floor in the first half, including 8 for 12 from beyond the arc. A Brown trey with 2:00 left in the half gave the visitors a 38-37 lead before Strus scored the final five points entering intermission.
—Field Level Media