GAME NOTES: After stumbling a bit during the Wooden Legacy, the Arizona State Sun Devils will try to get back on track as they take on the DePaul Blue Demons in a non-conference battle at Allstate Arena.
Going into last week's event, the Sun Devils had yet to lose a game and were coming off an impressive win over a then nationally-ranked Marquette squad. The Sun Devils found themselves in over their heads against No. 20 Creighton in an 88-60 loss, then falling to Miami-Florida (60-57) next time out. The two losses sandwiched an 80-58 win over Charleston. Arizona State is now sporting a 7-2 record and will return home for its next five games.
DePaul opened up a season-long, five-game homestand on Sunday with a 93-81 win over Oregon State. The victory ended a two-game slide for the Blue Demons, who are keeping their heads above water at 4-3 overall. DePaul takes on Florida Atlantic next time out.
Brandon Young scored 18 points and Cleveland Melvin (12 points, 10 rebounds) posted a double-double when DePaul took down Arizona State in Tempe last season. The win was the fourth in five all-time meetings for the Blue Demons.
Despite getting a monster double-double from Jordan Bachynski (20 points, 15 rebounds, four blocks), the Sun Devils were unable to defeat Miami. A big issue was the struggles of Jahii Carson. The Sun Devils' All-American candidate had just eight points on 2-of-14 shooting, while dealing with a sprained ankle.
That injury is still lingering for Carson, who is listed as questionable for this contest. Carson's presence can not really be replicated as the speedy guard is leading the team in scoring (20.2 ppg) and assists (5.1 apg) while hitting shots at an impressive 50.4 percent frequency. If there is one player that could attempt to assuage the loss, it is Jermaine Marshall. The team's second option, Marshall is netting 14.2 points per game. If Carson does not play or even if he's limited, Marshall will need to step up. As will Bachynski (13.8 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 4.1 bpg), who is one of the top shot blockers in the country.
All five starters scored in double figures and the Blue Demons connected on 57.9 percent of their shots from the floor to take care of Oregon State. The Blue Demons did struggle a bit with ball security during the contest as they were outscored, 26-19, in points off turnovers.
Young and Melvin are still suiting up and leading the way for the Blue Demons. Melvin (17.4 ppg, 5.9 rpg) paces the team in scoring and rebounding, while putting in 53.7 percent of his shots from the floor. Young (16.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 4.4 apg) is also netting more than 50 percent of his field goal tries, while putting up solid numbers across the board. Tommy Hamilton Jr. (11.1 ppg) is the only other players on the squad averaging in double figures. Billy Garrett (8.6 ppg, 4.1 apg) is not much of a scorer but his ability to share the ball is valuable. Garrett had 15 points and 10 assists against Oregon State.
If Carson is unable to go that could open the door for DePaul to pull off an upset on its home floor. Still with Bachynski down low and Marshall in the backcourt, the Sun Devils should be able to contend.
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