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Courtesy: Steve Rodriguez
@SunDevilHoops Tops UC Irvine 74-61-Pac-12 Up Next
Courtesy: Sun Devil Athletics
Release: 12/28/2013
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by Jeffrey Donley, Sun Devil Athletics

The Arizona State men’s basketball team held off the UC Irvine Anteaters to close out the non-conference portion of its schedule Saturday with a 74-61 win at Wells Fargo Arena.

With the win, the Sun Devils move to 11-2 on the season, including a perfect 8-0 record at home, while UC Irvine falls to 7-7.

“Given the schedule we played, we have a good non-conference résumé that will hopefully serve us well when March comes. For the second year in a row we have 11 non-conference wins, and this year in particular, I think it was against very formidable teams,” Head Coach Herb Sendek said.

Four Sun Devils scored in double figures led by Shaquielle McKissic’s 18 points, which is one shy of tying his career-high total. Jahii Carson, Jonathan Gilling and Jermaine Marshall each scored in double figures, recording 16, 13, and 10 points respectively. Jordan Bachynski narrowly missed a double-double, finishing with 10 boards, nine points, and six blocks.

The key stretch of the game came late in the first half. After trailing for most of the first half, the Sun Devils put together an 11-0 run to take an eight-point lead, 23-15, forcing an Anteater timeout with 5:12 remaining in the half. UC Irvine was kept scoreless for almost three minutes of game time, and was 0-for-5 during the run. Arizona State did not give up its lead for the remainder of the game

The Sun Devils extended its run to 23-8, and took a double-digit lead into the locker room at halftime, 35-23. Gilling led the ASU offense with eight points at the break, Carson and Marshall both added seven, and Bachynski tallied six points and seven boards in the first half. ASU also reversed its shooting fortunes towards the end of the half. After starting the game shooting 4-for-20, the Sun Devils closed the half shooting a 53-percent clip on 8-for-15 shooting. Will Davis II scored eight points for UC Irvine to lead the Anteaters.

McKissic got it going for ASU in the second half, scoring five quick points to get the offense going, and the Sun Devils held on to a double-digit lead before UC Irvine put together an 8-0 scoring run that kept ASU off the scoreboard for over two minutes. Arizona State called a timeout, leading 54-46, with 7:17 remaining in the game looking to end its scoring drought.

Arizona State ended the Anteaters’ run on the possession following the timeout, but UC Irvine responded with another 8-0 scoring run to pull within six, 60-54, before Gilling ended the scoreless run with a jumper set up by McKissic with 3:42 to play.

Gilling hit his third three-pointer of the day with just over two minutes to play to stretch the Sun Devil lead back to nine, 65-56, sparking a 5-0 run to pull away from the Anteaters.

The Anteaters had two players record double-doubles in Davis II and Mamadou Ndiaye. Davis II had 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Ndiaye scored 12 points and 12 rebounds. Luke Nelson added 12 points for UC Irvine.

The rims were tight early as neither team shot well to start the game, with Arizona State connecting on just one of their first 10 shots from the floor before having a few shots fall and UC Irvine not faring much better, shooting around 30-percent for the majority of the half. The second half was a different story than the first half, with both teams shooting over 50-percent from the floor.

Shooting was about even for both squads, with Arizona State holding a slight advantage, shooting 42-percent from the floor and 38-percent from beyond the arc. UC Irvine finished the game shooting 40-percent, but struggled from the perimeter, finishing 24-percent.

“What makes them truly dangerous is the way they shoot the three. Coming into this game, they were just a tick below 40-percent, with four guys that were consistently making threes. I thought our guys did a good job defending the three, although their starting frontcourt combined for outstanding numbers,” said Sendek.

UC Irvine held the advantage on the glass, outrebounding ASU 44-34.

Following the game, Sendek noted, “Rebounding was a shortcoming for us, we were beat on the backboard, including a big second shot on a missed free throw that triggered the comeback in the second half.”

The Sun Devils will remain at home to open Pac-12 play next Thursday, January 2, against Washington. Tipoff against the Huskies is scheduled for 6 p.m. MT and will air on ESPNU.  

Herb Sendek Quotes:

“What makes UC Irvine truly dangerous is the way they shoot the three. Coming into this game, they were just a tick below 40-percent, with four guys that were consistently making threes. I thought our guys did a good job defending the three, although their starting frontcourt combined for outstanding numbers.”

“Rebounding was a shortcoming for us, we were beat on the backboard, including a big second shot on a missed free throw that triggered the comeback in the second half.”

“Given the schedule we played, we have a good non-conference résumé that will hopefully serve us well when March comes. For the second year in a row we have 11 non-conference wins, and this year in particular, I think it was against very formidable teams.”

Arizona State Sun Devils Men's Basketball
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