The DePaul Blue Demons snapped their three-game losing streak Monday afternoon as they defeated the Norfolk State Spartans 82-78 in the seventh-place game of the Paradise Jam.
For DePaul head coach Dave Leitao, it's his 145th career victory as a head coach.
Here are three things we learned from this game.
DePaul is a much better team with Tommy Hamilton
Hamilton, who didn't play in Saturday's contest, was back in action for the Blue Demons today.
The difference was night and day.
Hamilton had 20 points on 8-8 shooting, and hauled in five rebounds. His benching on Saturday was called a "coach's decision" by the school. If Dave Leitao was looking to send a message to the big man, it seems to have been received loud and clear.
Billy Garrett also did his usual thing on offense for DePaul. 22 points on 6-13 shooting, four rebounds, seven assists, and 8-11 from the free throw line.
While Myke Henry's offense contributions were limited, he played a big role in this game. Henry blocked a Norfolk State lay-up with three seconds to go to seal the victory for the Blue Demons.
A big key to DePaul's on-court success this season will be seeing what they can get out of Tommy Hamilton. You know what Henry and Garrett will give you, but Hamilton is an enigmatic wild-card.
This is a quality win for the Blue Demons
Obviously Norfolk State isn't on the level of South Carolina or Florida State, but DePaul absolutely couldn't afford to return to Chicago with an 0-3 record from the Paradise Jam on their resumes.
Although DePaul suffered from some consistency issues in this game (They led 38-31 at the half after trailing for most of the first ten minutes, then got up 14 in the second half before letting Norfolk come all the way back), the result is what they wanted.
Norfolk State had three players with 15 or more points. D'Shon Taylor led all scorers with 23, Charles Oliver added 20, and Jeff Short had 16.
Generally, that sort of scoring outburst will be tough to overcome, but the Blue Demons were able to. If nothing else, it's a step forward from last season during which they went 0-3 in the Diamond Head Classic.
DePaul returns to the mainland for a nice eight-day layoff before playing crosstown foe UIC.
This is a "road game" for DePaul, as it's at the UIC Pavilion, but the Pavilion is 4.3 miles from DePaul's campus, while the Rosemont Horizon is 15.8 miles away.
UIC nearly upset DePaul in the season opener last season, so the Blue Demons will have to be on alert to not let the Flames sneak up on them.