TEMPE, Ariz. — Even at a slower pace, Arizona State found its offense in time to win its fifth straight to start the season.
Jordan Bachynski had 15 points and 10 rebounds to lead Arizona State past Bradley 70-58 Friday night.
Jahii Carson, coming off a 40-point night in a win against UNLV on Tuesday, had 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists, for the Sun Devils, who are 5-0 for the first time since 1985.
“Bradley really just controlled the tempo of the game,” said Arizona State coach Herb Sendek said. “And even when we got the ball, it seemed like we were content to play at their tempo. So the game didn’t have a lot of pace to it, a great deal of that is a function of what Bradley did but then we went along with it.”
Carson had just eight points at the half after Bradley tried to use a man-to-man defense and half-court game to keep Arizona State from running up to the 90-point-a-game average it had coming into the night.
“It was a little sluggish, we weren’t used to the slow pace but I think we handled it pretty good,” Carson said.
Tyshon Pickett had 23 points and Walt Lemon 20 for the Braves (4-2), who have lost two straight.
Jonathan Gilling added 14 points for Arizona State, which led by as much as 20 in the second half after taking a 43-28 lead at the break.
“It’s tough because we like to get out and run, guys like to get up, defend guys and create shots for one another,” Carson said. “I try to create shots for him (Gilling) and he tries to create shots for me, JB (Bachynski), try to get everyone involved. When the pace is so slow, we are all a little sluggish.”
“We knew coming in that this was a fast-break team that pushes the ball every time because they have a great point guard (Carson),” Pickett said. “But we just came in with the mentality of slowing them down and playing Bradley basketball against them. But we struggled a little bit.”
Arizona State went on a 17-1 run in the first half to take control, taking a 29-15 lead with 7:15 left before the break. Carson hit back-to-back 3-pointers from the top of the key and Chance Murray added a 3-point play to cap the run.
“That was a good run for us,” Sendek said. “But then it just seemed like we never got any momentum in the second half.”
Bachynski has a double-double in each of the Sun Devils’ first five games.
Bradley tried to slow down the Sun Devils, who came into the game averaging 90 points in their first four games. The Braves played half-court offense but missed 12 of their first 18 shots and couldn’t take advantage of an early rebounding edge.
“We got in foul trouble and we went zone,” Bradley coach Geno Ford said. “Jahii Carson made two shots from Scottsdale and that’s what he does. But fouls are mounting up and to beat good teams our bench is completely inexperienced, we wanted our main guys in.”
Ford added, “We wanted to give ourselves the best chance to win and that was try to get them in a half-court, maybe try to exploit some foot speed on the wing and we had some success but not enough.”
Bradley has lost 18 consecutive games played west of the Mississippi River since a 63-48 win against Drake on March 3, 2011.
Bradley starting center Jordan Prosser sat out for his fourth and final game after being suspended for breaking a school and team rule.
Carson admitted that after the road win against UNLV and No. 25 Marquette coming in on Monday that Friday could have been a trap game.
“The Bradley game, most of us overlook it,” Carson said. “This is one of the games that we felt like we had to take care of business because this is one of the games that could come back and bite us in the butt at the end of the day.”