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Blue Demons Fall to Arizona State at Allstate Arena
Durrell McDonald posted a career-high six steals on Friday to go along with a season-high 11 points.


Durrell McDonald posted a career-high six steals on Friday to go along with a season-high 11 points.

Dec. 6, 2013

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ROSEMONT, Ill. – On one of the most frigid evenings of the year, DePaul ran into a cold streak of its own Friday night at Allstate Arena.

Shooting just 29.2 percent from the floor that included 2-of-17 from beyond the three-point arc, the Blue Demons lost 78-56 to Arizona State.

DePaul (4-4) appeared to be compensating for the absence of standout senior Brandon Young, who aggravated an ankle injury in practice Thursday that forced him to the sideline. Rebounding and a solid ball-screen defense enabled the Blue Demons to trail 28-25 at halftime.

It all came apart during a four-minute stretch in the second half when Arizona State (8-2) outscored DePaul 17-2---including an 11-0 run.

“Defensively, we started off well in the first half,” said DePaul coach Oliver Purnell. “But our transition defense really let us down.

“Arizona State has some good shooters, and their three-point shooting was the devastating part of the game. (Jahii) Carson was the guy getting them the ball.”

The Sun Devils opened the second half on a 6-0 run and Sandi Marcius picked up his fourth foul less than two minutes in and had to come out. That gave the visiting team a nine-point lead.

A nice post-up move by Tommy Hamilton IV and a Cleveland Melvin layup cut the Arizona State advantage to 39-34.

That’s when the Sun Devils heated up. The 17-2 run was highlighted by back-to-back Jermaine Marshall three-pointers followed by Jonathan Gilling’s three and an Egor Koulechov layup for a 56-36 lead.

Arizona State hit their first six shots of the second half.

“Clearly, we struggled offensively, and Brandon’s ability to drive to the basket would’ve been helpful,” Purnell said. “Cleve (Cleveland Melvin) was trying to do too much. He and Tommy were pressing early.

“Brandon was injured last Sunday in our win over Oregon State. He was back to full practice yesterday but dinged it up again. I would say he’ll be ready for our next game.”

Billy Garrett Jr. assumed the scoring mantle from Young and led the Blue Demons with 14 points. Hamilton had 12 points and six rebounds while Durrell McDonald provided a spark with a season-high 11 points and a career-high six steals. Melvin was 2-for-12 from the field with seven points and nine rebounds.

“It hurt us not to have Brandon,” Garrett said. “Everyone else has to pick it up a little more. Tonight, it was a mixture of not having Brandon and settling a lot for pull-up jumpers in transition.”

Some of the off-target shooting was the result of 7-foot, 2-inch Jordan Bachynski recording eight blocked shots and altering a half dozen more.

“He changes shots, and he changes the angle of shots when you’re going at him,” Garrett said.

Arizona State’s NBA prospect and explosive guard Carson led the way with 23 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Marshall added 20 points.

“I thought Durrell played hard,” Purnell said. “Because of his quickness, he did the best job of guarding Carson off the ball screen.”

Arizona State opened the game with a 14-5 run when McDonald sparked a 9-0 DePaul burst with three quick baskets. The sophomore point guard finished off the run with a long jumper followed by a steal and layup.

DePaul played solid half-court defense in the first half and hit the backboards. That enabled Purnell’s team to stay close despite shooting around 25 percent from the floor.

Sandi Marcius followed up his splendid performance in last Sunday’s victory over Oregon State with another solid effort until he got into foul trouble early in the second half. His score inside followed by another McDonald steal and basket brought the Blue Demons within 22-21.

The Sun Devils moved in front 28-23 just before halftime when Marcius scored again down low to send DePaul into the halftime locker room trailing by three.

The Blue Demons hope to be back at full strength for an 8 p.m. matchup Thursday against Florida Atlantic at Allstate Arena.

Notes: Durrell McDonald scored a season-high 11 points and swiped a career-high six steals… DePaul still leads the all-time series 4-2… the loss snapped a three-game winning streak by DePaul in the series… Brandon Young missed the first game of his Blue Demon career with an injury…