TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Jahii Carson scored 20 points, Jonathan Gilling had 13 points and 15 rebounds, and Arizona State fended off a second-half rally by Florida A&M to pull away for a 97-70 win Sunday.
After an eight-day break between games, Arizona State (2-0) showed no signs of rust early against the Rattlers, racing out to a 19-point lead. The Sun Devils went into an offensive funk that allowed Florida A&M to pull within five in the second half, but used a 12-0 run to pull away for coach Herb Sendek’s 100th win with the program.
Jordan Bachynski had 14 points, eight rebounds and blocked six shots for Arizona State. Carson added seven assists.
Florida A&M (0-3) got off to an awful start offensively and never fully recovered, unable to fight all the way back from the big hole.
Jamie Adams led the Rattlers with 24 points and Reggie Lewis added 16.
Carson got off to a solid start after a year of hype-building, scoring 15 points and dishing out four assists in his first game in nearly two years against Central Arkansas.
Bachynski was the headline-grabber, though, finishing with 17 points, 12 rebounds and a school-record nine blocked shots to finish just short of notching the first triple-double in Arizona State history.
Playing against a starting lineup with no one over 6-foot-7, the 7-2 center had his way inside, scoring two quick baskets and bulled his way for a jump-hook later.
His teammates weren’t finding it too hard to score against the littler Rattlers, either.
With Sendek rotating players in almost like it was a hockey game, the Sun Devils ran all over Florida A&M, breaking out for dunks, alley-oops and 3-pointers. Arizona State had an 11-point lead in the first 5 minutes and was up 25-10 midway through the first half.
Even after forcing up several shots late, the Sun Devils hit 52 percent from the floor in the first half and had 12 assists on 17 made baskets to lead 45-32.
The problem for Arizona State was that it kept taking bad shots, allowing Florida A&M to make a run.
Missing those tough shots while Florida A&M was making similar ones at the other end, Arizona State had its lead trimmed down to five near the midpoint of the second half.
The Sun Devils finally shook the Rattlers for good a few minutes later, getting a couple of steals to set up a layup by Chris Colvin and a putback by Gilling that made it 77-64.
Florida A&M struggled in its first season under coach Clemon Johnson, going 10-23 a year ago. The Rattlers and their freewheeling offense have gotten off to a slow start this season, opening with road losses to Houston and Stetson.
Florida A&M kept it close against Houston, but lost by 22 to Stetson after missing its first nine 3-pointers and finishing 2 for 14.
The Rattlers kept rattling shots early against Arizona State, missing 12 of their first 16 to fall behind by 15. Adams was the only Florida A&M player to get anything to go down, scoring 17 points on 5-of-7 shooting in the first half. The rest of the Rattlers were a combined 5 for 22.
Despite struggling early, Florida A&M was able to keep Arizona State from running away with it, chipping a 19-point lead down to 13 by halftime. The Rattlers kept chiseling away in the second half, pulling within 57-52 on Adams’ 3-pointer with just over 12 minutes left.
Florida A&M managed to stay within reach for a little while by making some difficult shots, but those stopped falling and Arizona State pulled away with its big run.