DePaul running short already with CMU visit ahead

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DePaul's Tony Stubblefield put in nearly 30 years as an assistant before finally earning his first win as the boss of his own program.

In order to get win No. 2 when Central Michigan visits Wintrust Arena Saturday afternoon in Chicago, he'll likely have to figure out how to get by with just six scholarship players.

Guards Ahamad Bynum and Jalen Terry -- both top 100 recruits -- are still waiting for the NCAA's stamp of approval before they're cleared to play.

Graduate transfer Javan Johnson is completing his fall semester at Iowa State. Backup center Yor Anei injured his finger during DePaul's 97-72 win over Coppin State Wednesday night.

And, most relevant to the Blue Demons' current pursuits, Kansas transfer Tyon Grant-Foster did not play in the second half after suffering a "medical situation" in the locker room during halftime. It came shortly after Grant-Foster swished a 3-pointer at the horn to give DePaul a 41-40 lead - and he jogged off the floor toward the locker room seemingly without incident.

"He is at a local hospital and he's stable and responsive," Stubblefield said after the game. His condition had not been updated as of mid-day Thursday.

Despite being shorthanded, the Blue Demons (1-0) came through for the 51-year-old Stubblefield as Javon Freeman-Liberty -- the team's lone returning starter -- piled up 25 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists while 6-foot-6 David Jones came off the bench to deliver 23 points, 17 rebounds, two blocks and three steals.

The Blue Demons will face a Chippewas squad loaded with new players under new head Tony Barbee -- many of whom will be eager to show out in front of friendly Chicago fans.

For example, Oscar Lopez Jr. transferred from DePaul to CMU during the offseason. He played a team-high 37 minutes in the Chippewas' 78-68 loss Tuesday night at Missouri and contributed six points and seven rebounds.

Starting forward Brian Taylor, who posted seven points and eight rebounds in 35 minutes, transferred from Illinois-Chicago just a few miles away from DePaul. Starting guard Kevin "Boopie" Miller prepped at ballyhooed Morgan Park High School on Chicago's far South Side.

Even CMU associate head coach Shane Heirman has something extra on the line as he served as an assistant to previous DePaul boss Dave Leitao for the past four years.

Of the nine guys who played in CMU's opener (in which they trailed just 64-62 with 3:22 to play), only Aundre Polk was part of the squad last year. That's how quickly Barbee, the former Auburn boss and Kentucky assistant, is trying to build the Chippewas.

"We're a decent team right now, but we're nowhere near the team that we're going to be come December," Barbee said after Tuesday's game. "We're nowhere near the team that we're going to be in January or February or March. We've got to grow day-by-day and get better."

--Field Level Media