By Connor Johnson, ASU Media Relations Intern
It was a tale of two halves for the Arizona State men’s basketball team on Saturday afternoon as they were able to defeat the visiting Oregon Ducks 74-72 thanks to a game-saving block by center Jordan Bachynski.
Oregon almost forced overtime, as junior guard Joseph Young broke free on a cut to the basket, but his last-second layup was swatted away by Bachynski.
“I knew they were going to attack and my main concern was to not give up a three,” Bachynski said. “I saw (Young) get past the three-point line and I backed up to protect the rim. I saw him cut out of the corner of my eye and I knew I had to block that.”
ASU looked inside early and often, and Bachynski responded with his best game of the season. He almost recorded his second career triple-double in the win and finished with a career-high 26 points, nine rebounds and nine blocks.
“You can’t say enough about the weekend Jordan Bachynski had,” head coach Herb Sendek said. “He was spectacular again today. He was almost perfect from the field, almost perfect from the foul line, nine blocked shots, nine rebounds, including the game-winning play.”
The Sun Devils were able to shrug off poor shooting performances by both Jahii Carson (2-10, 11 points) and Jermaine Marshall (0-7 3FG, 12 points) on their way to the win. Carson finished with six assists and a career-high 12 rebounds, and Shaquielle McKissic finished with 15 points.
Coach Sendek was very complimentary of the Ducks’ Young, who scored all 29 of his points in a dominant second-half performance.
“That has to go down as one of the best second-half performances I have ever seen as a coach,” coach Sendek said. “What a spectacular performance.”
Bachynski was five-for-five in the first half and scored 18 of his 26 points in the frame, and McKissic (4-4) chipped in 10 on a perfect four-for-four in the half, which was commanded by ASU.
After an emphatic putback dunk by Oregon senior Mike Moser made the score 12-11, the Sun Devils hit nine of their next 10 field goals and found themselves leading 35-18 with three minutes remaining in the first half.
Despite eight ASU turnovers and nine offensive rebounds, Oregon struggled from the field in the first half and shot nine-of-36 (25 percent). Meanwhile, the Sun Devils shot a blistering 15-22 (68 percent) from the field in the first half and led by 20 at halftime, 43-23.
The 23 points were the fewest that Oregon has scored in a first half all season, and the Ducks especially struggled from behind the three-point line, hitting only one of their 13 first half attempts.
ASU has had trouble holding on to big leads in past two weeks, and Saturday afternoon was no different. But just like at California the Sun Devils came out on top.
“The one thing that is for certain is that nothing is predictable in this game,” coach Sendek said. “Our guys knew the game wasn’t over. They played really well, it’s a game of runs, and they had a great player who absolutely was in the zone. We didn’t play as well in the second half, but I think for the second game in as many weeks of having a big lead and then losing it, our guys showed great character in retaking the lead and winning both at Cal and here this afternoon.”
After an abysmal shooting performance in the first half, Oregon went on a 20-5 run to make the score 53-49 with 10 minutes remaining. The Sun Devils struggled against a full-court press put on by the Ducks, turning the ball over six times during that stretch.
“They are a very athletic and quick team and pressing is in their DNA,” coach Sendek said. “We turned the ball over a few times against it and finished with 15 turnovers. That continues to be something that we need to address and improve.”
A Jason Calliste three tied the game at 59, and a pair of Johnathan Loyd free throws gave Oregon its first lead since the 18:36 mark in the first half before two Jermaine Marshall free throws tied the game back up at 61 with 4:25 remaining.
A jump hook by Bachynski, ASU’s first field goal since the 12:08 mark in the second half, gave ASU a 65-63 lead, but Young immediately countered with a jumper to tie the score at 65. A three-point play by Marshall gave ASU a quick lead, but Young answered the call again, hitting a three to tie the game at 68 with 2:18 remaining.
Three Sun Devil free throws, one by Carson and two by Marshall, gave Arizona State a 71-68 lead with one minute left. But Young answered with another jumper, bringing Oregon within one with 47.6 seconds remaining.
After ASU burned its last timeout trying to break Oregon’s press, a floater by Marshall gave the Sun Devils a 73-70 lead with 13 seconds left. Young then was fouled attacking the basket, and made both of his foul shots to make the score 73-72 with 4.9 seconds remaining.
ASU was able to get the ball back to Marshall, who hit his second free throw after missing the first, and his effort down the stretch did not go unnoticed.
“Jermaine Marshall, on a night where he was really struggling, had enough confidence and poise to make big plays at the end, which isn’t easy to do,” coach Sendek said.
Oregon then raced down the floor, but a last-second driving layup by Young was blocked by Bachynski to give ASU a thrilling conference victory.