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Arizona State pulls away from DePaul

The SportsXchange

ROSEMONT, Ill. -- Arizona State and DePaul went miss-for-miss in the early going on Friday night at Allstate Arena, but only the Sun Devils eventually shook themselves out of offensive doldrums.

Guard Jahii Carson led a balanced attack with 23 points as Arizona State (8-2) claimed a 78-56 non-conference victory.

"We missed some good early shots," Arizona State coach Herb Sendek said. "We night have a record at one point for most layups missed. (But) we have good shooters and we thought the shots would go down for us."

The Sun Devils broke a three-game series losing streak against the Blue Demons (4-4) as guard Jermaine Marshall scored 20 points, forward Shaquielle McKissic had 14 points and 11 rebounds and forward Jonathan Gilling added 12 points.

Guard Billy Garrett scored a team-high 14 points, center Tommy Hamilton had 12 and guard Durrell McDonald added 11 points and for a DePaul team that shot a season-low 29.2 percent (19 of 65) from the field and went 2 of 17 on 3-point attempts.

Some of the problems stemmed from the absence of guard Brandon Young, the team's No. 2 scorer who was sidelined with a sprained right ankle.

"It hurt not to have Brandon out there," Garrett said. "We tried to focus on what we could control going into the game. ... (But) Brandon not being there put a wrench in the fluidity of our offense. But we'll try to fix it."

The Sun Devils shook off their own poor shooting start to end the game at 50.9 percent from the field (27 of 53).

Arizona State led 28-23 at halftime and opened the second half with seven straight points while DePaul made just one of its first six shots from the field to fall behind 35-26.

The Sun Devils used a 6-0 run for its first double-digit lead at 45-34 on McKissic's layup with 14:32 left.

Carson and Marshall then hit back-to-back 3-pointers in a span of 30 seconds to open a 51-36 advantage with 12:54 to go. Gilling followed with another 3-pointer and forward Eric Jacobsen's layup extended the run to 11-0 and a 56-36 lead.

DePaul never got closer than 15 points the rest of the way.

"We pushed the tempo a little more," said Carson, who also had a sore right ankle. "We're a run-and-gun team. We let them control the tempo early, and once we got in a rhythm and a groove, we controlled the tempo and exposed the weakness of their transition defense."

Arizona State never trailed in the first half and led by as many as nine points at 14-5 after Carson's layup with 12:18 left. DePaul trimmed the margin to one less than four minutes later when Garrett's jumper made it 17-16.

Neither team shot well in the first half. The Sun Devils connected on 33.3 percent from the field (7 of 21) in the first 14:15 as they opened a 20-16 lead. The Blue Demons hit just 28 percent (7 of 25) during the same span.

Arizona State made 4 of 6 shots from the field in the final minutes and led 28-25 at halftime behind Carson's 13 points.

"Defensively, we started out well in the first half," DePaul coach Oliver Purnell said. "As good as we were defensively, I thought offensively we weren't very good. We took some really bad shots early in the shot clock.

"Our transition defense towards the end of the first half really let us down and that continued into the second half."

The Sun Devils are idle until Dec. 14 when they host Grambling. DePaul is home next Thursday against Florida Atlantic.

NOTES: Friday's game was just the second on the road so far for the Sun Devils, who won 86-80 on Nov. 19 at UNLV. ... C Jordan Bachynski entered the week with seven double-doubles, tied with Kentucky's Julius Randle. Bachynski is the the program's career leader in blocks (218). ... Transfer G Jermaine Marshall was the Big Ten's No. 6 scorer last season (15.3 points) at Penn State and picked up where he left off with a 14.2-point average so far for Arizona State. ... Friday's game was DePaul's second of the week against Pac-12 opponents. The Blue Demons beat Oregon State 93-81 last Sunday. ... The Blue Demons still need one victory to hit 1,400 all time. They are 1,399-905 since the first fully recognized basketball season in 1923-24. Young, DePaul's No. 2 scorer at 16.3 points, tried to practice this week his ankle was just too sore to proceed. Purnell expects him back next week. ... Blue Demons freshman Billy Garrett Jr. was named Big East rookie of the week after his 15-point, 10-assist effort against Oregon State.
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