It’s been a good weekend for Jordan Bachynski.
Just two nights after setting the Pac-12 all-time blocks record, the ASU senior center followed it up on Saturday with a monster performance, scoring 18 of his 26 points in the first half and finishing with nine blocks and nine rebounds.
Oh, and he also had the game-saving block as time expired.
Thanks to Bachynski’s block, the ASU men’s basketball team (18-6, 7-4 Pac-12) avoided a second-half meltdown and defeated Oregon at home 74-72.
Saturday’s game followed nearly the same script as ASU’s close win over Marquette back in November — the Sun Devils jumped out in the first half, blew the lead in the second and needed Bachynski to save the day.
It was the fourth-straight game ASU played that went down the wire. The Sun Devils had just fought off Oregon State in overtime on Thursday.
“What a weekend,” ASU coach Herb Sendek said with a laugh. “You can’t say enough about the weekend that Jordan Bachynski had. Once again, he was spectacular today.”
Everything seemed to be going ASU’s way when it shot a blistering 68.2 percent from the field while holding the Ducks (15-8, 3-8 Pac-12) to 25 percent shooting to go into halftime with a 43-23 lead. The Sun Devils dominated Oregon inside and kept forcing them to take tough outside shots.
But it was a completely different ballgame after intermission.
Oregon junior guard Joseph Young completely took over the Ducks’ offense, scoring all 29 of his points in the second half. Young devastated the Sun Devils’ defense coming off picks, as he drove in for layups whenever ASU switched over on screens and pulled up for jumpers whenever the Sun Devils went under.
“That has to go down as one of the best second-half performances I’ve ever seen as a coach,” Sendek said.
Oregon also hurt ASU by trapping the Sun Devils’ ballhandlers with a fullcourt press. The Ducks forced seven turnovers and made ASU scramble in the backcourt, thus taking away its halfcourt offense in the second half. It also didn’t help the Sun Devils that they shot just 3-of-15 (20 percent) from the 3-point line.
“They’re a very athletic and quick team, and pressing is in their DNA,” Sendek said.
ASU led by as much as 21 points with 15:37 left, but Oregon proceeded to go on a 20-3 run that brought them within three points. ASU fought back and tried to preserve its lead by going to the free-throw line, but Oregon stole the lead at 61-59 with 5:18 left in the second half.
The two teams traded baskets from there, as it was mostly a battle between Bachynski and Young.
In the last minute of the game, Young hit a basket with 47.6 seconds left to bring the Ducks within one point. ASU senior guard Jermaine Marshall responded with a tough basket in the paint with 13 seconds left to put the score at 73-70. Young sprinted out and got to the free-throw line with five seconds left and made both free throws.
The Ducks intentionally fouled Marshall and got him to the free-throw line, and Marshall left the game open as he missed his first of two free throws. After Marshall made the second, Oregon sprinted to its basket with five seconds left.
Young got the ball on the baseline and tried a reverse layup to tie the game, only to have Bachynski reject the shot and the Ducks’ chance to win.
Bachynski’s main priority was to make sure Oregon didn’t get a 3-pointer off. The rest seemed natural to him.
“I saw (Young) get past the 3-point line and I backed up just to protect the rim and I see a guy cut in the corner of my eye,” Bachynski said. “I knew I had to block that. We had to have that one, and I came up with it.”
Marshall had a rough shooting night going 0-for-7 from the 3-point line but added 12 points, grabbed six rebounds and was a key part in the Sun Devils’ late second-half charge. ASU redshirt sophomore point guard Jahii Carson led all rebounders with 12 boards and also had 11 points and six assists. Senior forward Shaquielle McKissic also added 15 points.
Although Sendek doesn’t like his team playing close games very often, the last couple of games have been an instrumental learning experience for the Sun Devils.
That’s what they need as they host No. 2 UA next Friday with the Pac-12 regular season nearing its finish.
“We were able to keep our composure, and that’s huge for our guys because that shows maturity and mental toughness,” Bachynski said.
- ASU great Alton Listor’s No. 53 was honored and hung up into the rafters at Wells Fargo Arena during a halftime ceremony.
- After walking off due to an injury in the first half, Oregon senior guard Jason Calliste got into a confrontation with a fan from ASU’s student section as Calliste tried to collect himself on that side of the court. Arena management added more security near the student section and the visitors’ tunnel for the rest of the game.
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