Jan. 26, 2013
By Jordan Parry, ASU Media Relations Student Intern
The Sun Devils would like to remind their foes that Sun Devil country is nothing to mess with--and the trip to Tempe very likely will not end pleasantly.
With a 78-60 victory Saturday afternoon, Arizona State has now won two games in three days, this time handling the UCLA Bruins, helping improve to (16-4; 5-2). Opposed to their overtime thriller Thursday night against USC, this time the Sun Devils controlled from start to finish.
Coming off a 28-point performance against USC on Thursday night and averaging 19.7 points over his last three games, ASU junior guard Evan Gordon wasted no time establishing himself against a young UCLA starting five. Gordon hit the game's first shot on a driving right-handed layup and also had a three-pointer from the corner before the game's first official timeout, where the Sun Devils led 7-6.
After scoring 98 points in their victory over USC, Arizona State opened cold from the field, starting 1-4 with two turnovers. UCLA couldn't capitalize early, however, as they started 2-6 with two turnovers themselves, their first two makes coming from three-point land.
The Bruins then went even colder, going zero for their next nine, as 6:04 passed in between field goals before a Shabazz Muhammad layup. They opened the game shooting a dismal 2-15. The Sun Devils led 12-11 at the second official timeout with 11:53 to play.
Out of the Sun Devil huddle emerged center Jordan Bachynski, who asserted himself inside with a put-back layup off a Gordon missed three, followed by another basket off a post-up. He was just getting started.
After a missed basket, Backynski then hit two more buckets in the paint while also recording a powerful block on the defensive end.
For UCLA, Muhammad put the load on his shoulders, scoring nine of the first 17 Bruins points.
The crowd at Wells Fargo Arena erupted with 8:24 to play, as the Sun Devils made their third-straight bucket, this time coming on an unlikely alley-oop tip-in by Carrick Felix off a pass from Jonathan Gilling, forcing UCLA head coach Ben Howland to call a 30-second timeout with ASU leading 24-19.
Bachynski wasn't done, though, as he continued to use his 7'2" size to cause nightmares for the UCLA big men. He had 12 points on 6-7 shooting and five rebounds in ten minutes before taking a breather as Arizona State head coach Herb Sendek inserted backup big man Ruslan Pateev.
The Bruins were forced to call another timeout with 4:11 to play, this time after a full-court pass from Jahii Carson to Felix, who slammed a dunk through for a four-point Sun Devil advantage, 32-28.
After a sloppy ASU turnover coming out of the last official timeout of the half, the Bruins caught the Sun Devils sleeping on defense, as Adams hit an uncontested elbow three, leaving puzzled looks on the faces of Sun Devil players.
Felix answered, though, taking a powerful drive to the rim and finishing with a thunderous throw down that rocked the arena.
On the next possession Carson found Bachynski for another dunk, and after a missed UCLA shot on the other end Gordon nailed an elbow three-pointer of his own, bringing the packed house of Sun Devil country to their feet in rowdy applause. The three were the last points of the half, as Arizona State took a six-point edge into the halftime locker room, 39-33.
Bachynski led ASU at the half with 14 points on 7-8 shooting, to go along with nine rebounds as he missed a first half double-double by one rebound. He had six offensive boards in the first 20 minutes.
Felix and Gordon also finished the first half in double digits, dropping 11 and 10 points respectively. Adams had 15 points to lead the Bruins.
The Sun Devils shot 50 percent in the first half on 18-36 shooting, while UCLA shot only 41.2 percent, going 14-34 from the field. Both teams had seven turnovers.
Heading out of the locker room, Jonathan Gilling missed a layup which was tipped in by Felix, the first of three-straight shots made by ASU. After one of two free throws went through for Felix, the Sun Devils led by 11, 46-35, early on in the second half.
UCLA was forced to burn another timeout before they could even make it to the official timeout, as Gilling extended the lead to 14 points, 51-37, with his first three-pointer of the contest.
Muhammad tried his best to keep the Bruins in contention with back-to-back layups seconds into the shot clock, but with 6:18 to play the Sun Devils commanded a 13-point lead, 62-49.
ASU brought intensity from the get-go and it never faded, evident when a sprawled out Gilling attacked a loose ball and called a timeout, saving a possession with 3:57 to play, up 65-52.
Every time the Bruins hit a shot to get the deficit close to single digits Arizona State would retaliate, but it was still just an 11-point lead with 3:19 to play, the game far from over in terms of time remaining.
In order to win at this point, UCLA had to hit a plethora of shots while hoping ASU missed free throws, but neither happened often as the Sun Devils sent the Bruins home in impressive fashion.
Bachynski glowed throughout, finishing off his stellar performance with 22 points on 10-12 from the floor, 15 rebounds and six blocks. His 22 points and 15 rebounds were both career-highs. Eight of his 15 rebounds came on the offensive end.
Felix also eclipsed the 20-point mark, as he scored 23 points on 8-12 shooting to go along with 11 rebounds and three steals. Both he and Bachynski recorded double-doubles.
Carson and Gordon both finished with 12 points. Carson had eight assists and was 4-5 from the free throw line. Gilling only had seven points but had 12 rebounds and eight assists, which was a career-high, also.
Arizona State shot 46.9 percent on the game, going 30-64 from the field. UCLA struggled to hit shots and finished at only 34.7 percent shooting going 25-72 on the day.
The Sun Devils travel to Pullman, Wash. for their next contest, as they are set to take on Washington State for a slated 8:00 p.m. (PT) tipoff.