by Connor Johnson, Sun Devils Communications Intern
TEMPE -- Jordan Bachynski, playing a career-high 39 minutes, had a block at the buzzer and the Sun Devil men's basketball team held off a second-half rally by the No. 25 Marquette Golden Eagles to score a 79-77 victory at Wells Fargo Arena on Monday night.
Jahii Carson had 23 points - 13 in the second half - and five rebounds while Jermaine Marshall added 21 points of his own. Bachynski finished the game with 14 points, 11 rebounds and seven blocks.
Bachynski was able to block Marquette guard Derrick Wilson’s shot with two seconds left, and the Sun Devils were able to come out on top of a hard-fought game that saw five lead changes down the stretch.
Carson led the Sun Devils with 23 points and five assists, while Bachynski had his sixth straight double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Bachynski was also a defensive force all game, finishing with seven blocks and altering countless other shots by Marquette.
COACH SENDEK'S EIGHT WINS VS. RANKED TEAMS AT ASU
ASU 79, #25 Marquette 77 (Nov. 25, 2013)
ASU 68, #24 Washington 51 (Jan. 8, 2010)
#23 ASU 75, #13 Washington 65/Pac-10 Tourney (Mar. 13, 2009)
#18 ASU 74, #11 UCLA 67 (Feb. 12, 2009)
#16 ASU 61, @#9 UCLA 58 (OT), Jan. 17, 2009
ASU 72, #7 Stanford 68 (OT), Feb. 14, 2008
ASU 77, #17 Xavier 55, Dec. 15, 2007 (largest win over ranked team in ASU history)
ASU 68, #22 USC 58, Feb. 18, 2007
The Golden Eagles had a balanced offensive attack all game long, with four players in double figures, led by senior forward Davante Gardner’s 18 points and 12 rebounds as well as senior guard Jake Thomas’ 16 points. Thomas was instrumental in Marquette’s comeback, hitting five threes in the second half.
Despite the strong performances from Carson and Bachynski, the x-factor for the Sun Devils may have been Marshall. The senior guard bounced back after an off-game against Bradley, bailing ASU out with numerous finishes at the end of the shot clock.
“I just came out and tried to be aggressive,” Marshall said. “Both teams were scratching and clawing tonight. They come from the Big East and play with that physicality, and I love that.”
ASU head coach Herb Sendek was extremely complimentary of Marshall’s play tonight.
“He’s amazing, he’s a (big) game player,” Sendek said. “He really steps up in big moments and makes shots. I think his presence on this team adds confidence in so many ways to our guys.”
The Sun Devils faced another 2-3 zone Monday night, as Marquette seemed content to force ASU to beat them from the perimeter. However, Arizona State torched the Golden Eagles from deep, starting the game 4-5 from beyond the arc and finishing with six threes in the first half. ASU finished 10-22 (46 percent) from deep on Monday.
Sendek has liked what he has seen so far from his team’s zone offense.
“I’m really comfortable with our zone attack. I think our guys are comfortable playing against the zone,” Sendek said.
Jahii Carson and Jermaine Marshall hit back-to-back three-pointers on ASU’s first two possessions, and Carson and Koulechov hit back-to-back threes a minute later. Carson then intercepted a pass at midcourt and raced down for a layup to give ASU a 14-3 lead barely four minutes into the game.
Marquette answered with a 9-4 run to make the score 18-12 with 12 minutes left in the first half. However, ASU countered with a 7-0 run of its own to make the score 25-12 with just over 10 minutes remaining in the first half.
Arizona State cooled off from deep as the opening half came to a close, but the Sun Devils were able to penetrate Marquette’s zone for lots of easy baskets inside. Bachynski was the main beneficiary, scoring 12 of his 14 points in the first half. Bachynski also added seven rebounds in the opening half as ASU headed into halftime with a 43-33 lead.
Marquette has had a difficult time generating points this season, averaging only 55.0 points per game in their last two games. The Golden Eagles looked well on their way to another low-scoring output, as they shot just 12-32 (37.5 percent) in the game’s first 20 minutes.
However, the Golden Eagles found their stroke from deep at the start of the second half, hitting their first three shots from beyond the arc as part of an early second half spurt to make the score 50-48 with 15 minutes remaining.
A Jajuan Johnson layup with just over 11 minutes left gave Marquette its first lead of the game, but Carson countered right back with a layup of his own to put the Sun Devils back in the lead, 62-61. Gardner followed with a short jumper to give Marquette a brief 63-62 lead, but ASU went on a quick 7-0 run to take a 69-63 lead with nine minutes remaining.
After Marquette closed the gap to one on a Derrick Wilson layup, Carson was able to slice through the Golden Eagle defense and feed Koulechov for an easy layup to give ASU a 78-75 lead with just under three minutes left. Marquette answered with a Gardner driving floater to bring the score to 78-77.
Following misses from both teams on their ensuing possessions, Marquette had the ball down one with 27.1 seconds remaining. The Golden Eagles were able to get Thomas a good look from just inside the three point line, but the shot rimmed out and Marshall was fouled with 7.3 seconds left.
Marshall calmly sank the first, but was long on the second, giving Marquette a chance to tie or win. Derrick Wilson raced down the floor, but his potential game-tying floater was emphatically swatted away by Bachynski.
“We knew that we had to play heads-up basketball and play smart,” Bachynski said. “I knew that as he (Wilson) was coming around the corner, I knew that he was going to take it so I just leaped over and jumped and prayed and blocked the shot.”
Arizona State doesn’t get much time to celebrate their win tonight, as the Sun Devils will travel to face No. 20 Creighton on Thursday night in Fullerton, Calif. in the Wooden Classic.