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November 16, 2013

Sun Devils wallop Bengals

Arizona State needed to call up the perfect number to get it out of an early first half gridlock with Idaho State.

ASU went with the number three.

Three newcomers nailed three huge three-pointers in a row for the Sun Devils starting at 11:22 left in the first half to break out of a 15-15 tie with Idaho State, sparking a 26-10 run to end the first half.

Freshman guard Chance Murray, senior Valparaiso transfer Richie Edwards and senior Penn State transfer Jermaine Marshall hit consecutive three-pointers en route to what would become an 88-60 win for ASU in front of 5,899 at Wells Fargo Arena Friday night.

Sophomore point guard Jahii Carson lead ASU with 19 points, two rebounds and two assists with none of ASU's 14 turnovers.

"I think Jahii is recognizing how he can impact the game in many ways beyond scoring," ASU coach Herb Sendek said. "I think he's playing very unselfish basketball and he's really setting the table for his teammates. He's doing what great players do. He's helping guys be better."

Marshall continued to shine in his first year with the Sun Devils, tallying 17 points and grabbing three rebounds. Junior college transfer Shaquielle McKissic bounced back from his zero-point effort Tuesday against Miami of Ohio with nine points, seven rebounds and two assists, improving the Sun Devils to 3-0 on the season. Idaho State dropped to 0-2.

Senior center Jordan Bachynski had his third consecutive double-double this season with 10 points on 3 of 4 shooting and 10 rebounds in addition to six blocks.

With his final block of the night Bachynski broke the Sun Devil career record of 191 blocks held by Mario Bennett (1991-95).

"We knew today that their guards are drivers and that they were going to take it to the hoop," Bachynski said. I just needed to be there on help-side and so that really, really helped.

"They play that zone (defense) and their goal is to take away the low post and if it does get in there, they trap. We knew early on that that would be the case and that's why I needed to work hard to get deep-post position and offensive rebound."

After a slow start for Sun Devil offense, Sendek said that even despite the troubles early on, the game plan never changed.

"I don't think we made any real adjustment, we just continued to grind," Sendek said. "We were able to string together some additional stops and I think they started the game shooting the basketball exceptionally well, maybe even a couple tough shots against us. But it was more a matter of staying with what we were doing and continuing to grind."

ASU's defensive effort was more consistent as it forced 14 turnovers and held Idaho State to just two three-pointers in the entire game, both coming late in the second half.

"That was our No. 1 key coming into the game," Sendek said. "We had great respect for their ability to shoot the ball. (Junior guard Chris) Hansen in particular is a real threat any time he catches the ball. I thought our guys really zeroed in and did a good job defending the three."

While ASU was able to contain Idaho State's three-point game, the same couldn't be said for the Idaho State's zone defense strategy.

ASU was 12 of 29 from three-point range and a total of seven different ASU players made at least one three-pointer. ASU also shot 49.1 percent from the field and converted 22 of 29 free throws.

Freshman guard Egor Koulechov took nine of those free throws, the most taken by any ASU player in the game. Koulechov finished with nine points, five rebounds, four steals and two assists.

"I'm just trying to come off the bench and hustle and just trying to help my team," Koulechov said. "Guys have been doing it great. Guys like Chance…coming off the bench has been great for us, you know myself, I'm, just trying to be out there."

Young players like Koulechov and Murray have earned a bit of trust from the staff for their early-season. Murray got into the game quickly and played 25 minutes off the bench while Koulechov played 16 minutes.

"Once again tonight, our young guys really helped us," Sendek said. "(Freshman guard) Calaen (Robinson) got hot at the end of the Miami (of Ohio) game. Today, Egor was all over the court, played with a lot of energy. Had a good game. Chance is giving us great minutes so I'm excited about that core group of young guys."


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