by Connor Johnson, Sun Devil Communciations Student Intern
BUY MARQUETTE TICKETS HERE!
Behind a balanced offensive attack, the Arizona State men’s basketball team defeated the visiting Bradley Braves 70-58 on Friday evening in Tempe, Ariz. The win moved the Sun Devils to 5-0 for the first time since 1985-86.
Jahii Carson led the way for the Sun Devils, finishing with 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Jordan Bachynski finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds for his fifth straight double-double this season, and Jonathan Gilling knocked down four three-pointers and finished with 14 points and five assists.
Bradley was led by senior forward Tyshon Pickett’s 23 points and five rebounds, as well as senior guard Walt Lemon Jr.’s 20 points.
The Sun Devils found themselves trailing 14-12 midway through the first half, but were able to go on a 17-1 run thanks to two deep threes by Carson and took a 29-15 lead with seven minutes remaining in the first half.
Bradley started the game in a 2-3 zone in an attempt to limit penetration from Carson, who was fresh off scoring a career high 40 points against UNLV on Tuesday. However, ASU was able to generate a lot of open looks early, torching the Braves with seven threes in the first half.
The Sun Devils only turned the ball over four times in the first half, and had three players score eight or more as they took a 43-28 halftime lead.
Arizona State put on a passing display all night long, assisting on 21 of their 25 field goals, including 14 assists on their 15 first half field goals.
Jermaine Marshall, Arizona State’s second leading scorer this season, struggled Friday night. Marshall shot only 1-6 and finished with five points, but head coach Herb Sendek mentioned how there are several players who can step up any given night.
“John knows he’s a good shooter, you know, the one thing about John is he kind of rolls with the flow,” Sendek said. “If anybody has the capacity to bounce back from something like that it’s John.”
Gilling finished 5-8 from the field, including 4-6 from beyond the arc. It was a welcome improvement for the junior wing after shooting only 1-10 from three in the past two games.
“I know I can make shots. I’ve made thousands of shots in my life, so I know I can make them,” Gilling said. “It was just a matter of seeing them fall. I always have confidence.”
Another positive sign for the Sun Devils on Friday was their performance from the free throw line. Arizona State shot 11-14 from the line tonight, a vast improvement after a bad 11-20 performance from the line against UNLV on Tuesday.
Tonight saw the first change in the Sun Devil starting lineup, as freshman forward Egor Koulechov started in place of Shaquielle McKissic. Koulechov was rewarded with his first career start after a strong performance on Tuesday.
“We just really felt like Egor earned the start with his amazing hustle at UNLV,” Sendek said.
Bradley succeeded in controlling the pace, holding ASU to their lowest scoring output of the season. The Sun Devils could have scored even less if they hadn’t been able to speed the game up a bit with a half-court trap.
“We like to get out and run. We try to get everybody involved but when the pace is so slow, we’re all a little sluggish,” Carson said. “That’s when we tried to put in a little trap with the press to try and speed them up a little bit. I think that worked to our advantage.”
Arizona State’s next game is on Monday in Tempe against No. 25 Marquette, who were the preseason pick to win the Big East. The Sun Devils could be in for another game played slower than they prefer, as Marquette is holding opponents to an average of 58 points this season, far lower than the 86.4 points they put up per game.