ASU Prevails Late, Notches 18th Win

Despite leading by as many as 21points early in the second half on Saturday, Arizona State was forced to hang on late against the Ducks in order to complete its weekend sweep at home with a 74-72 victory.

Leading by one point with 4.5 seconds to go, senior Jermaine Marshall walked to the free throw line with a chance to put his team up by three. Despite struggling from the floor, Marshall had been a perfect 5-5 from the free throw line, but was only able to convert on one of two attempts, putting the Sun Devils ahead 74-72.

After an Oregon timeout, Duck point guard Jonathan Loyd pushed the ball up the court and found a streaking Joseph Young along the baseline racing towards the hoop for a potential game-tying lay-up. But Sun Devil center Jordan Bachynski did as well, rotating over to make the last of his nine blocks on the night, denying Young and the Ducks as the final horn sounded at Wells Fargo Arena.

"My main concern was to make sure that we didn't give up a three, so I was up at it and 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 and I knew that I had to block it and I came up with it," said Bachynski on the final play.

Arizona State (18-6, 7-4 Pac-12) opened the game on a scoring fury, led by the 7-2 Bachynski. The senior scored 18 of his team-high 26 points in the first half as the Sun Devils shot 15-22 (68.2%) from the floor to take a 45-25 lead into halftime.

But Oregon (15-8, 3-8 Pac-12) refused to go away in the second half, instead using their full-court press defense to stymy the Sun Devil offense and claw their way back into the game.

The Sun Devils began the half shooting just 3-11 from the floor and with six turnovers as the Ducks went on a 20-3 run to trim the lead to just four points.

Oregon used another 7-0 run, led by Young's hot shooting, to charge ahead 61-59 with 5:18 to play.

But the Sun Devils responded with a final push of their own, regaining the lead on a Jahii Carson free throw with 1:51 remaining in the game before holding on at the end.

Young finished with a game-high 29 points, all of which came in the second half, on 11-22 shooting from the field and 4-6 from deep.

"That has to go down as one of the best second half performances I've ever seen," remarked Head Coach Herb Sendek. "Not all of them were easy shots. Granted we broke down and gave him some that were awfully good looks but he was making shots."

"He's a phenomenal player," added Bachynski. "To do what he did takes something special and he knew what to do. It's tough to guard. If I'm up at the ball screen, he uses his quickness to try and get around me. And if I sag off, he just pulls up. But we won, I guess."

Just two nights after becoming the career block shots leader in the Pac-12, Bachynski submitted his own equally impressive outing, finishing with 26 points on 7-8 shooting from the floor and 12-14 from the free throw line. He also totaled nine rebounds and set a season-high with nine blocked shots in the win.

Bachynski was just one of four Arizona State players in double figures on the afternoon, as Shaquille McKissic poured in 15 points and Jermaine Marshall added 12 points on 3-11 shooting.

Sophomore Jahii Carson scored 11 points for the Sun Devils and set a career-high with 12 rebounds.

ASU shot just 6-24 from the field in the second half and an even worse 0-8 from behind the three-point line but benefitted from making 19-23 free throws. "A good sign is, on a night when we didn't shoot the three well, we found a way to win," said Sendek. "In many games, unless we were shooting the ball well, finding that other way has been difficult. So on a night when we didn't shoot the ball well from range, we still scored 74 points, which is pretty good, and found a way to win."

With the win, Arizona State improved to 13-1 at home on the year. The Sun Devils have also now won five of their last six conference games; including two overtime wins and today's last second stand.

"I think for the second game in as many weeks, after having a big lead and losing it, our guys have shown great character in retaking the lead and ending up winning, both at Cal and again here this afternoon," Sendek commented.

"It's just staying locked in mentally for the whole forty minutes because a game can turn at any point," added Bachynski. "Basketball is a game of runs and you've just got to keep your composure when the 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 it shows maturity and mental toughness."

Next up for the Sun Devils is a rematch with rival Arizona on Friday, February 14th. Tip-off is set for 7:00 and the game will be televised on ESPN.


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