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February 8, 2014

Sun Devils hang on to beat Ducks

In a game made up of offensive runs, defense sealed an essential win for Arizona State as senior center Jordan Bachynski's had his second walk-off block this season.

Bachynski's rejection of Oregon junior guard Joseph Young's layup attempt came as time expired and saved the Sun Devils after they earlier squandered a 21 point second half lead.

With their 74-72 win over Oregon at Wells Fargo Arena, the Sun Devils improved to 18-6 overall and 7-4 in Pac-12 play while the Ducks dropped to 15-8 and 3-8.

Young scored all of his 29 points in the second half, finishing 11 of 22 from the field and 4 of 6 from behind the arc. But with the game on the line, it was Bachynski who delivered the biggest play.

"You can't say enough about the weekend that Jordan Bachynski had," ASU head coach Herb Sendek said. "Once again he was spectacular today. Almost perfect from the field, almost perfect from the foul line, nine blocks shots, nine rebounds including the game-winning play, reminiscent of our Marquette finish."

ASU came away with its second consecutive huge sweep at home, a big boost to its NCAA Tournament hopes as it gears up to play Pac-12 leader and in-state rival Arizona next week at Wells Fargo Arena. On the flip side, Oregon has won only three out of eleven games after going 12-0 in its non-conference schedule.

Bachynski, after having a double-double and setting the career record for conference blocks against Oregon State, had another standout performance, scoring 26 points, grabbing nine rebounds and blocking nine shots Saturday.

While Bachynski continued to play as well as he has in his career, senior guard Jermaine Marshall again displayed late-game heroics down the stretch. With 13 seconds left to play, Marshall made a spinning layup as the shot clock ran out to put ASU up 73-70.

After Young hit two free throws after getting fouled by Bachynski at the other end, Marshall was fouled and sent to the line. This time, Marshall hit only one of two free throws but in the ensuing Oregon possession, Young drove it down the lane and got his shot blocked by the 7-foot-2 Bachynski, sending a crows of 8,583 at Wells Fargo Arena into a frenzy.

"I knew the time and the score, they didn't have much time at all," Bachynski said. "I knew they were going to attack. My main concern was to make sure we didn't give up a three so I was up at it and I saw him get past the three-point line and I kind of backed up just to protect the rim and I see a guy cut out of the corner of my eye. I knew that I had to block that, we had to have that one and I came up with it."

Marshall ended the game with 12 points, six rebounds and was 6 of 7 from the free throw line.

"Jermaine Marshall, on a night when he was really struggling had enough confidence and poise to make big plays at the end which isn't easy to do," Sendek said.

While the final minutes of the game went back and forth between the teams, it was a completely different story earlier in the game.

ASU went on a 30-11 run to end the first half after being only up by one point at the 11:35 mark of the first half to take a controlling 43-23 lead on Oregon. ASU shot 68.2 percent from the field and had nine assists on 15 made baskets in the period.

For Oregon, nothing was falling in the first half as it shot a mere 25 percent from the field and was 1 of 13 from three-point range.

Senior forward Mike Moser led the way for Oregon in the first half, scoring 11 points on 5 of 8 shooting, but was the only Oregon player who had more than four points in the first half.

In the second half, it was Oregon's turn to make a large run.

Behind the breakout scoring of Young and an effective full court press, Oregon forced ASU into multiple turnovers and Bachynski admitted Oregon had the home team rattled by its pressure.

After ASU took its largest lead of the game, 21 points, with 15:37 left to go in the second half, Oregon went on a to 34-11 run to go up by two with 5:18 left in the second half.

"That has to go down as one of the best second half performances I've seen as a coach," Sendek said, primarily in awe of Young's effort.

From there, the teams traded baskets and despite ASU shooting poorly from the field in the second half -- a mere 14.3 percent, or 3 of 21 from the field at one point -- it made its last three field goals to pull out the win.

Sophomore point guard Jahii Carson struggled from the field and only had 11 points for the Sun Devils, but contributed in multiple others ways, grabbing 12 rebounds and dishing out six assists on the night.

While Carson was lacking in the scoring department, sophomore Eric Jacobsen played only 12 minutes, contributing only five points on the night. Jacobsen, who has replaced junior forward Jonathan Gilling in the lineup for the past six games, had been averaging 4.4 points and been playing significant minutes throughout.

Gilling played 25 minutes off the bench, but struggled to score even after starting the second half, going 2 of 6 from the field, totaling five points.

Despite the collapse on the offensive side for the Sun Devils in the second half, they showed resiliency down the stretch when they needed it the most.

"A game can turn at any point," Bachynski said. "Basketball is a game of runs and you just got to keep your composure when that other team is going on those runs and do what you can to stop them and go on your own runs, but the minute you lose your composure, is when you lose and we were able to keep our composure and that's huge for our guys because that shows maturity and mental toughness."


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