TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Arizona State Sun Devils (17-6, 6-4) shook off a lackluster first half and managed to defeat Oregon State 86-82, needing overtime to seal the deal.
Jordan Bachynski's seven blocks set the all-time Pac-12 record, and he also contributed with 17 points and 15 rebounds. The senior from Calgary, Alb. now has 279 for his career -- a stat that is sure to grow throughout the rest of his final season.
"It was huge," Bachynski said. "I am honored to hold the title. It's because of guys like Bill Walton who laid the foundation before me that I can have the record."
Despite a career-defining game for Bachynski, he fouled out with 2:30 remaining in overtime and had to nervously watch his teammates pull away from the pesky Beavers.
"I hate not being able to control anything," said Bachynski. "I try and give my teammates my energy and do whatever I can. It sucked. I got to be smarter with fouls."
Jonathan Gilling and Jermaine Marshall carried the team in the final frame -- accounting for 15 of the Devils' last 20 points. The duo made consecutive three-point shots to erase an early 67-66 deficit in the overtime period, and ASU never looked back from that point forward.
"It was a game of many swings and runs. Shooting only 31 percent in the first half...in some respects we were fortunate to only be down three," Coach Herb Sendek said about the team's resilience despite it's poor start.
Sun Devils point guard Jahii Carson helped his team get out of its early funk, sparking a 19-6 run that spanned across both halves. The run turned a 28-21 Beavers' advantage to an ASU 40-34 lead. During that stretch, the sophomore accounted for nine points, a steal and an assist. After that spark ignited a relatively quiet home crowd, Carson cooled off and couldn't pull his team far enough ahead from Oregon State.
Carson missed a pair of free throws with his team up 55-49 as well as a step-back jumper near the top of the arc as time expired -- sending the game to overtime. As a team, the Sun Devils collectively shot 62.5 percent from the charity stripe.
"Well it keeps the game interesting," Sendek said about another poor night shooting free throws. "It keeps the other team's hopes alive. As a team we left 15 points on the floor, compared to Oregon State (13-9, 5-5) who missed only six."
ASU for the year is shooting 69.5 percent from the line which ranks them 185th out of 351 Division 1 schools.
Oregon State guard Roberto Nelson helped the Beavers claw back from a late seven point deficit. The senior had 26 points including 4-of-5 shooting from three-point range and 6-of-7 from the charity stripe. His layup with 20 seconds remaining tied the contest at 64.
Center Angus Brandt gave the Devils their biggest scare when he opened overtime with a three pointer that temporarily gave OSU a 67-64 lead. He finished with 13 points and six rebounds, while forward Eric Moreland had a game high 17 boards.
The win certainly helps ASU's resume as March Madness draws nearer. They sit tied for third in the Pac-12 and are currently projected as an 11-seed according to ESPN.com's Joe Lunardi. Seven of the team's final eight regular season games feature opponents ranked in the top 100 RPI rankings.
The Sun Devils certainly needed a big performance from someone other than Jahii Carson Thursday. They got it from Jordan Bachynski. He surpassed Arizona's Anthony Cook for the most career blocks by a member of the Pac-12, a record that lasted 15 years.
Jermaine Marshall made multiple key baskets down the stretch -- weaving his way through the paint for countless clutch layups -- carrying ASU in overtime.
While Jonathan Gilling was non-existent for the first 40 minutes of the game, he made a pair of monumental clutch threes in overtime. The first one gave ASU back the lead at 69-67, and the second was the dagger -- pushing the Devils ahead 83-74 with 30 seconds remaining.
Free Throws. As competition gets tougher, ASU needs to complete its share of attempts. Otherwise, this team is destined to either miss the postseason or get sent home earlier than it hopes. Close games are often determined by what each team does from the line. ASU can't allow this to hold them back.
Courtesy of the Sun Devils Athletics' press release...
Jordan Bachynski was an abysmal 55 percent from the free throw line in his first three seasons at ASU. This year, the senior is hitting at an astounding 81 percent which puts him near the top of the conference. Huge improvement and you can tell he put the work in during the offseason.
He Said It:
"We've been fortunate with our big guys as we flashback to Jeff Pendergraph, Eric Boateng, and Jordan. All had humble beginnings and all improved to a point where they became a real difference maker." -- Herb Sendek on how his centers have vastly improved over their careers in Tempe.
The Sun Devils got a victory over a team that they had to beat, especially at home. Now they face a more talented squad, at least on paper, in Oregon on Saturday. Both teams are fighting to get into the tournament, and it is unsure if both will get in. ASU can take matters into its own hands and put themselves ahead of the Ducks--another bubble team. They square off Saturday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. MST on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.