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DePaul opens season with win over Bethune-Cookman

The Blue Demons are in the win column!

NCAA Basketball: DePaul at Creighton Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

The DePaul Blue Demons improved to 1-0 on the young season Wednesday night as they picked up an 80-58 victory over the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats at Wintrust Arena.

The Blue Demons were paced by Max Strus’ 25 points. Strus hit five threes and shot an efficient 8-14, which is something he will have to do more and more this year if the Blue Demons want to compete. Strus’ first year at the Division I level last season was marred with inefficient shooting, so getting off to a good start was vital for the senior.

The game was moderately competitive in the first half, as the Blue Demons trailed by a point with eight minutes to go until the break, before taking a 43-31 lead into the locker room. The second half was all DePaul, as a 15-2 run spanning six minutes late in the game to turn this one into a laugher.

DePaul’s three big men also impressed, as Paul Reed, Jaylon Butz, and Femi Olujobi combined for 32 points and 19 rebounds, something that the Blue Demons will need to continue to rely on after the graduations of Marin Maric and TreDarius McCallum.

Illinois transfer Jalen Coleman-Lands made his highly anticipated debut after sitting out the 2017-18 season, and had eight points in 36 minutes of action. Coleman-Lands will likely get more involved as the time goes on.

Eli Cain went just 2-11 from the field, but had a game-high eight assists. For comparison, Bethune-Cookman had just six assists as a team.

Cletrell Pope and Malik Maitland led the Wildcats with 11 points each.

DePaul will be back in action Monday against Morgan State.