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Stamina helping ASU’s Jordan Bachynski continue steep improvement

Since stepping on campus four years ago, Arizona State center Jordan Bachynski has played in 95 basketball games.

But he’s never played more minutes in a single game than he did Monday night in the Sun Devils’ 79-77 win over 25th-ranked Marquette at Wells Fargo Arena.

Bachynski logged a career-high 39 minutes, scoring 14 points, 11 rebounds and seven blocked shots, including one on Marquette guard Derrick Wilson on a potential game-tying shot at the buzzer.

ASU head coach Herb Sendek was effusive in his praise of the senior center from Calgary following the game.

“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,” he said.

“Just take it from a conditioning standpoint. At no point previously in career could he ever have played in a game this physical and combative for 39 minutes — he would need to come out every few minutes,” the coach stated. “But he has so improved himself physically through the great help of our world-class sports performance coach Rich Wenner, that he’s able to play at high level now for much longer periods of time.”

In the Sun Devils’ last three wins over UNLV, Bradley and Marquette, Bachynski has played 30 or more minutes. It’s only the second time in his college career that he’s had such a streak — he logged 30+ minutes in four straight games last season.

Bachynski isn’t exactly a fan of the rigorous conditioning he and his teammates went through in preparation for the season, but sees the benefits now.

“We have never run so much in preseason,” he said. “It sucked when it was going on, but I’m grateful we did it because everybody on the court seems like they have more wind.

“Coach Rich knows what he’s doing.”

The conditioning of Bachynski and the rest of the Sun Devils will be tested this holiday weekend as they head to the Wooden Legacy, an eight-team tournament held in Fullerton, Calif.

ASU will play three games in four days starting Thanksgiving night when they take on All-American Doug McDermott and the 20th-ranked Creighton Bluejays. The field also includes Charleston, George Washington, Marquette, San Diego State, Miami and host Cal-State Fullerton.