The ASU men’s basketball team will probably keep looking at its home Pac-12 loss to Washington on Jan. 9 throughout the season, but it didn’t take long for the Sun Devils to balance it out with a road win.
ASU got its first conference win away from Tempe by defeating USC, 79-60, Thursday night in Los Angeles.
The Sun Devils’ (13-3, 2-1 Pac-12) scoring was much more balanced compared to their first round of Pac-12 games against the Washington schools last weekend, but still had a big game from their 1-2 punch of senior center Jordan Bachynski and redshirt sophomore point guard Jahii Carson.
Bachynski recorded his ninth double-double of the season with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Carson had 18 points despite not scoring for the first 15 minutes of the game.
ASU senior forward Shaquielle McKissic continued his groove of packed box scores, as he scored 12 points while grabbing eight rebounds and snatching six steals.
Senior guard Jermaine Marshall also added 10 points. Junior forward Jonathan Gilling had an improved shooting night, hitting 2-of-4 from the 3-point line toward nine points.
Despite the Sun Devils’ positive scoring output, both teams played sloppy at the Galen Center. ASU shot 46 percent from the field, while the Trojans (9-6, 0-1 Pac-12) shot 36 percent from the field and just 3-for-17 from the 3-point line.
Both teams also had trouble taking care of the ball, as the Trojans had 16 turnovers while the Sun Devils had 13.
Although transition defense was an area of concern for ASU heading to the game, the Sun Devils thrived on transition offense. It helped ASU steadily build a lead in the first half before escaping on a 9-0 run.
The Sun Devils went into halftime with a 44-28 lead, but USC came out and scored the first six points of the second half. ASU went on another 9-0 run following the Trojans’ run.
As Carson found his scoring touch, USC had trouble stopping him from penetrating while guarding Bachynski on the low block. At the point, the game was out of reach.
USC junior guard Byron Wesley finished with 20 points on 7-of-12 and 14 rebounds.
ASU coach Herb Sendek continued to incorporate junior transfer forward Brandan Kearney into the rotation, as Kearney even played point guard at one point in Carson’s place. He finished with three points but also had three fouls in seven minutes.
ASU redshirt freshman Calaen Robinson and freshman Chance Murray did not play in Thursday’s game, but senior walk-on Jarett Upchurch made his third appearance of the season — even hitting a 3-pointer — at point guard in the last minute of the game.
The Sun Devils will play their second game of their L.A. road trip against UCLA, which suffered a close 79-75 home loss to No. 1 UA on Thursday night.
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