At the end of the ASU men’s basketball team’s 86-82 overtime win over Oregon State late Thursday night, ASU senior center Jordan Bachynski walked into the postgame press conference with a bloodstain on his jersey and scratches on his arms.
Bachysnki spoke during the presser, but his appearance alone could’ve described the entire game.
“It’s a battle,” Bachynski said. “It always is, every game.”
A hard-fought war that the Sun Devils (17-6, 6-4 Pac-12) barely survived at home wasn’t the only memorable feat from Thursday’s game. Bachynski blocked Oregon State senior forward Devon Collier’s layup with 32 seconds left to break Anthony Cook’s Pac-12 all-time blocks record of 278.
The good vibes surrounding Bachynski was short-lived though. He picked up his fifth foul with 2:30 left in overtime, forcing him to watch the rest of the game from the sideline. The crowd gave him a standing ovation as he sat down, but that wasn’t good enough of a consolation.
“Oh, I hated it,” Bachynski said. “I hate not being able to control anything. The only thing I try to do is give them my energy off the bench. … That’s all you could do off the bench and yeah, it sucked but I got to be smarter with the fouls, I guess.”
ASU hung on despite shooting 43. 1 percent from the field, 29.4 percent from the 3-point line and also having sophomore center Eric Jacobsen foul out.
Beavers senior guard Roberto Nelson, the Pac-12’s leading scorer, didn’t shoot well for most of the game. He came alive late in the second half, though, and finished with 26 points on 8-of-18 shooting.
It helped that the Sun Devils had eight steals and forced Oregon State (13-8, 5-4 Pac-12) commit a total of 15 turnovers, which impressed ASU coach Herb Sendek.
“We were scrappy,” Sendek said. “That’s been a real shortcoming of our team. We’re a low steal team, we don’t force a lot of turnovers and it’s rare when we’ve had more steals than our opponent.”
Bachynski finished the game with 17 points on 8-of-12 shooting, 15 rebounds and seven blocks. Senior guard Jermaine Marshall added 25 points while redshirt sophomore point guard Jahii Carson chipped in 23 points, six rebounds and six assists.
It wasn’t the prettiest start for ASU. The Sun Devils had trouble finding rhythm in the early part of the first half while Oregon State, the Pac-12’s most accurate outside shooting team, drilled three 3-pointers within the first seven minutes of the game.
In honor of James Harden Night, ASU’s student section decided to stay mute until the Sun Devils scored their 13th point. ASU didn’t even hit that mark until Bachynski made a layup with 8:30 left in the half before the crowd finally erupted.
That’s probably the last time the 942 Crew will use that ploy again.
“It would be my recommendation that we never do that ‘Don’t cheer’ stuff, because I think that hurts the home team,” Sendek said. “I mean, we’re the home team and we’re creating silence. It doesn’t work, in my opinion. I would be an advocate of never doing that.”
The Sun Devils shot just 31 percent from the field the entire first half and went 1-for-6 from the perimeter.
ASU exploded out of halftime and started the second half on an 11-5 run thanks to several fastbreak buckets from Marshall and Carson. However, the Sun Devils couldn’t avoid foul trouble, which allowed Oregon State to keep its deficit within single digits by going to the foul line.
The Beavers kept tying the game beginning at the five-minute mark of the second half and stayed alive when Nelson made a layup with 20 seconds.
ASU opted not to call timeout after the shot. Carson brought the ball up and heaved up a last-second jumper from 18 feet away but missed it, bringing the game to overtime.
Despite not having Bachynski for most of the time, ASU never looked back in overtime behind Marshall’s seven points in the period. Junior forward Jonathan Gilling and Bo Barnes replaced Bachynski and Jacobsen in overtime and each had crucial baskets.
It was ASU’s third close game in a row after going down to the wire against California and Stanford last weekend on the row. It’s not ideal for the Sun Devils to keep playing these games, but they are still finding ways to endure through them.
“We love playing in overtime, I guess,” said Bachynski as Sendek sat next to him. “It might not be great for coach Sendek’s blood pressure, but it just goes to show you how conditioned we are.”
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