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DePaul is ‘rudderless’ without Brandon Young in loss

Updated: January 8, 2014 6:17AM



DePaul learned before the game against Arizona State on Friday that it would be without co-leading scorer Brandon Young, who had reinjured a sore left ankle Thursday in practice.

The Blue Demons had trouble making up for their captain’s absence, specifically normally high-scoring Cleveland Melvin, who had only seven points in a 78-56 loss at Allstate Arena.

‘‘He was pressing,’’ DePaul coach Oliver Purnell said of Melvin, who did have nine rebounds. ‘‘He was probably trying to do too much with Brandon out. Clearly we struggled in our offense and we were a little rudderless [without Young].’’

The short-handed Demons (4-4) faced a daunting opponent in the Sun Devils (8-2), led by NBA prospects in 5-10 sophomore guard Jahii Carson and 7-2 senior Jordan Bachynski, projected by some as lottery picks.

Carson led all scorers with 23, despite playing on a sore right ankle. Bachynski, a shot-blocking specialist, swatted away eight.

‘‘He changes shots,’’ freshman guard Billy Garrett Jr. (14 points, one assist to four turnovers) said of Bachynski. ‘‘You always have him in the back of your mind.’’

More than a dozen NBA scouts were on hand.

‘‘Jordan has a special gift in his shot-blocking, and he’s probably going to beat most of the records he already has,’’ Arizona State coach Herb Sendek said.

‘‘Our guys do a good job of staying focused,’’ he added of the attention both players draw. ‘‘It’s every kid’s dream to play in the NBA.’’

The game was close in the first half, with DePaul closing a 14-7 deficit with a 9-2 run, keyed by a steal and two quick baskets by sophomore guard Durrell McDonald.

The Las Vegas native finished with 11 points and six steals off the bench while trying to help contain Carson.

‘‘It’s tough not having Brandon’s leadership and his offense,’’ McDonald said. ‘‘I felt my quality would be to bring energy and defense.’’

McDonald had some success finding seams to the lane against Bachynski, “but a guy that tall, you try not to let him get into you mentally, but he’s there.’’

DePaul outrebounded the Sun Devils 42-41, but the Demons shot a miserable 29 percent (19-for-65), making only two three-point baskets. Arizona State went 7-for-16 from behind the arc.

‘‘Once they got going, they were devastating,’’ Purnell said of three-point shooters Jonathan Gilling (4-for-6) and Jermaine Marshall (2-for-7, but 7-for-12 overall with 20 points).

Young, who sprained his left ankle Sunday in DePaul’s 93-81 victory against Oregon State, could return for the team’s next game Thursday against Florida Atlantic, ­Purnell said.

Email: tginnetti@suntimes.com

Twitter: @toniginnetti



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