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Fork Report: Sun Devils top Marquette in thriller in Tempe

TEMPE, Ariz. — It pays to have one of the most prolific shot-blockers in college basketball wearing your uniform.

Arizona State’s 7-foot-2 human eraser Jordan Bachynski added to his ever-growing rejection total with seven more Monday night against 25th-ranked Marquette, but none was bigger than the last one. Bachynski blocked a running right-hander by Derrick Wilson as time expired, preserving the Sun Devils’ 79-77 win in front of a raucous crowd of 9,177 at Wells Fargo Arena.

The Sun Devils led by 10 at the break, but Marquette (3-2) caught fire from the outside in the second half. Senior guard Jake Thomas canned five treys as the Golden Eagles chipped away at the lead and eventually grabbed one of their own when Jajuan Johnson hit a runner to put his team up 61-60 with 11:09 remaining.

But ASU answered. Jahii Carson would score seven points in a stretch of 1:18 as the Sun Devils (6-0) built their lead back to six. Marquette would creep to within a point on three more occasions, but Herb Sendek’s team held on for the win.

The Good: ASU’s backcourt is outstanding. Carson led the Sun Devils with 23 points and five assists while Penn State transfer Jermaine Marshall continued his outstanding play. The senior added 21 points, his second 20-plus point effort in the last three contests.

In fact, both guards took over offensively during crucial stretches of the game. Carson’s exploits were listed above, and Marshall scored 10 straight points over a stretch of 3:18 early in the second half that basically kept the Devils in the game while Marquette was unconscious from the field.

In addition to his block party, Bachynski had 14 points (with five dunks) and 11 rebounds for his sixth straight double-double to begin the season.

Freshman Egor Koulechov played at his normal high-energy level, chasing Thomas around the court for a good portion of the second half. After blistering the nets for all 16 of his points in the second half, Thomas missed his last three shots under pressure from Koulechov.

The Bad: There wasn’t much to nit-pick about this performance by ASU, so we’ll put this one on the crowd. While the atmosphere for most of the game was amazing, the student section was responsible for a technical foul assessed on the Sun Devils because of thrown objects on the court. The crowd was warned once by PA announcer Jeff Scott, but following a taunting technical on Marshall with just over 13 minutes to play, more objects came flying onto the court. Sendek got on the microphone to implore the crowd to stop, but by that time, the damage had been done. Davante Gardner hit three of the four technical foul shots to pull the Golden Eagles to within a point.

He Said It: “I’ve been saying it all year, and maybe at some point, the national media will pick up on it as well — if there’s a more improved player over the span of these last four years, I don’t know who it is, but I know Jordan has to be in that conversation. I thought Jordan was just terrific today and the numbers he’s been posting, you know, they’re hard to beat.” — Sendek on center Jordan Bachynski’s performance.


• With his seven blocks, Bachynski now has 210 for his career, moving him past former Cal Golden Bear Michael Stewart for fourth place on the all-time Pac-12 list. Bachynski now trails only former Arizona standouts Anthony Cook (278), Channing Frye (258) and former USC Trojan Taj Gibson on the list.

• Bachynski cut his finger in the first half, and there was too much blood on the jersey for him to continue wearing his customary #13. Instead, he finished the contest wearing jersey #42. “For the longest time, I didn’t even know what jersey I was wearing,” he said.

• Carson’s output was good enough for his 20th career game of scoring 20 or more points.

• The Sun Devils are 6-0 for the first time since 1980-81 — a team that featured Byron Scott, Alton Lister, Sam Williams and Fat Lever.

• Bachynski’s 39 minutes were a career-high.

• Spotted in the crowd: former MLB manager Tony LaRussa.

What’s Next: The Sun Devils’ tough non-conference schedule continues with a trip to the Wooden Legacy tournament in California over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. ASU takes on 23rd-ranked Creighton Blue Jays Thursday night. The team is guaranteed three games in the eight-team field that also features Miami, George Washington, Marquette, Charleston, San Diego State and host Cal-State Fullerton.

Thursday’s first round game against Creighton can be seen on ESPN2 and heard on Arizona Sports 620. Pregame coverage starts at 8:30 p.m with a tip-off scheduled at 9:00.