ASU holds on for OT win amid Bachynski’s block party

TEMPE, Ariz. — Jordan Bachynski’s record-breaking performance could hardly have come at a better time for Arizona State.

Bachynski had seven blocked shots to set the Pac-12 career record and played an integral role in the Sun Devils’ second overtime victory in eight days, an 86-82 Pac-12 win over Oregon State at Wells Fargo Arena on Thursday.

Coach Herb Sendek’s blood pressure may be rising, but the Sun Devils are doing the same — the victory kept ASU (17-6, 6-4) in the league’s crowded first division as one of four teams tied for third place behind Arizona and UCLA. The top four league finishers get a first-round bye in the Pac-12 tournament, and the league is likely to get that many bids to the NCAA tournament. ASU finishes the weekend against Oregon on Saturday before its home rematch against No. 2 Arizona the following Friday.

"We love playing in overtime, I guess," Bachynski said. "It shows how well-conditioned we are." 

Bachynski now has 279 career blocks after setting the record on one of the most important sequences of the game, rejecting a short Devon Collier shot in the lane with 30 seconds remaining to protect ASU’s 63-62 lead. Jermaine Marshall then made a free throw at the other end, but Oregon State standout Roberto Nelson’s driving shot with 19 seconds left tied the score, and the game went to overtime when Jahii Carson’s 18-footer was short at the buzzer.

Marshall and Jonathan Gilling hit 3-pointers early in the overtime to give ASU a lead it never lost, and a second trey by Gilling gave the Sun Devils an insurmountable 83-74 lead with 27 seconds remaining after a possession that ran the full length of the shot clock. Down by six points with a minute left, the Beavers chose not to foul as the Sun Devils patiently ran their offense before Marshall found Gilling for his dagger 3-pointer.

ASU 86, Oregon State 82

Marshall, whose 3-pointer allowed ASU to force overtime in an 89-78 victory over California at Haas Pavilion last Wednesday, had a team-high 25 points. Jahii Carson had 23 points, going 13 of 18 from the free-throw line, and added six rebounds and six assists.

Bachynski had 17 points and tied a career high with 15 rebounds. And while Bachynski passed former Arizona center Anthony Cook (1985-89) by one rejection to get the record, he is not really sure he can claim it.

"I’m honored that I can hold that title. It’s huge," said Bachynski, 7-foot-2.

"But you also have to think about guys in the ’60s like Bill Walton. I’m sure he had more blocked shots than I did, but they didn’t have that stat back then. It is because of guys like him that they laid the foundation so that I can hold this record. I’m honored to hold it. It’s a tribute to those who laid the foundation."

Bachynski fouled out with 2:30 remaining in overtime, but the Sun Devils held on while playing small. Gilling, 6-7, was their tallest player, and ASU used a two-man game with Gilling screening for Carson at the top of the key to move the ball around the perimeter for good looks.

Bo Barnes made his only basket of the game for an 80-74 lead when Carson penetrated and found him cutting to the basket, and Gilling hit his decisive trey on the next possession after a Nelson turnover.

Nelson had a game-high 26 points and big men Angus Brandt and Devon Collier had 13 points apiece. Oregon State (13-9, 5-5), which beat UCLA at home Sunday, had a 47-43 rebounding edge, but Arizona State made up for that by committing only eight turnovers. The Beavers had 15.

"It was a game of many swings and runs," Sendek said. "As long as Roberto Nelson is on the floor making the kinds of shots he can make, almost indefensible, the game is never over. We were trying everything we could. He really is an amazing player."

Oregon State was off to its best conference start since 1999 and had won two in a row

"Our guys did not back down. But we didn’t make enough good plays," Beavers coach Craig Robinson said. "That was a physical game. We had too many turnovers, and they got points off those turnovers. We have been able to sort of counter the many turnovers that we have gotten by not letting them score when we turn it over, but today it was tough. A lot of those came from the foul line."

Jahii Carson was busy. He put up 17 field-goal attempts and 18 free throws while playing a season-high 43 minutes. 

22.8 — Jahii Carson’s scoring average in the last six games. He has scored at least 20 in five of those contests. 

— Jonathan Gilling continued to play well off the bench with nine points, five rebounds and five assists in 34 minutes.

The Arizona State student section has an unorthodox way of honoring James Harden, and coach Herb Sendek is not a fan. Harden wore No. 13 in his two seasons at ASU before leaving for the NBA, so in recognition, the students pick one game every year in which they do not cheer until ASU gets its 13th point. That happened at 8:29 of the first half Thursday, when Jordan Bachynski made a layup to cut Oregon State’s lead to 18-14. The net effect? No ASU home-court advantage for the majority of the first half. "It would be my recommendation that we never do that ‘don’t cheer’ stuff, because I think that hurts the home team," Sendek said. "We’re the home team and we’re creating silence. Doesn’t work. We are trying to create energy at home, and we are going opposite-ville."

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