CHICAGO — Tommy Hamilton IV was double, even triple-teamed by Chicago State on Thursday but it hardly mattered as the DePaul center poured in a career-high 25 points in an 84-60 nonconference victory.
“I just let the game come to me,” said Hamilton, who had already matched his career best with 17 first-half points. “I just tried to get started inside first and my three was going tonight and my teammates kept feeding me and I kept producing.”
Hamilton had a near-perfect night with 7-for-7 shooting — including 2-for-2 from beyond the 3-point line — plus 9-for-12 free-throw shooting and eight rebounds.
“I thought he was very active early on and that helped us and obviously he was a big difference maker,” said DePaul coach Oliver Purnell. “They really didn’t have an answer for him. It took him a while to get used to the double and triple teaming and him running the floor and being in different spots really helped.”
The Blue Demons (5-1) are off to their best start since 2009-10 and best under fifth-year coach Oliver Purnell.
“They’ve got players, I’m a fan of that team,” said Chicago State coach Tracy Dildy. “Tommy’s confident — I talked to him before the game — his head is right, he feels really good about the (lower) weight. There’s not many of those (like him) in the country.”
DePaul forward Myke Henry scored 12 points, guards Billy Garrett Jr. and Aaron Simpson each had 11, and forward Darrick Wood contributed 10 points off the bench.
Guard Clarke Rosenberg collected 20 points for Chicago State, which dropped its fifth straight.
DePaul never trailed on the way to its third straight and most decisive win of the season.
The Blue Demons held a 47-30 advantage by halftime and a 21-point lead after a fastbreak layup by Garrett with six minutes to play. The lead grew to 25 points in the closing minutes.
Chicago State (2-7) never got closer than 13 points during the second half but Dildy saw some encouraging play.
“I thought we came out with a group of guys that was going to fight and compete the whole 40 minutes,” said Dildy, who has 10 players in their first season. “If we had shown this effort in some previous games I think the outcome would have been a little different.”
Twelve players recorded minutes as the Blue Demons improved to 13-0 all-time against the Cougars and 2-0 at Chicago State’s Jones Convocation Center.
DePaul used an 11-0 first-half run over to take command, part of a 18-2 surge over a 4-minute, 33-second span on the way to a 33-13 lead.
NOTES: G Clarke Rosenberg, Chicago State’s scoring leader with a 15.5-point average, scored just three points Saturday in the Cougars’ 90-42 loss at Notre Dame. … The Cougars entered Thursday averaging 62.4 points per game, 275th in the nation. … Chicago State took DePaul into overtime in the last meeting on Dec. 15, 2013, before the Blue Demons prevailed 77-70 at Allstate Arena. … The Cougars hit the road Saturday for a nonconference game at Toledo. … Thursday’s game was DePaul’s third of four games in an eight-game stretch which concludes Sunday at home against Milwaukee. … DePaul’s 78.2 scoring average entering Thursday was the 37th highest in the country.
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