Bachynski, Carson lead ASU past USC
LOS ANGELES — For Arizona State, it was all about defense.
For Southern California, it was a second straight one-sided loss to begin Pacific-12 Conference action. And considering the Trojans’ upcoming schedule, there could be several more if the Trojans don’t show significant improvement.
Jordan Bachynski had 20 points and 12 rebounds, Jahii Carson scored 18 points despite being held scoreless for the first 15 minutes, and ASU rolled to a 79-60 victory over USC on Thursday night, snapping the Trojans’ nine-game winning streak at home.
Shaquielle McKissic had 12 points, eight rebounds and six steals and Jermaine Marshall added 10 points for the Sun Devils (13-3, 2-1 Pac-12), who won for the sixth time in seven games. Seven of the previous nine games between ASU and USC were decided by six points or fewer, but it was clear well before the end that this one wouldn’t be close.
"Our defense enabled us to come away with a victory. I think defense was our centerpiece tonight," ASU coach Herb Sendek said after his team harassed the Trojans into a 36.1 percent shooting performance (22 of 61) and 11 of their 16 turnovers in the first half, when the outcome was essentially decided.
With the 7-foot-2 Bachynski dominating the inside at both ends, the Trojans were forced to shoot from the perimeter and didn’t fare well at all, making just 3 of 17 shots from 3-point range.
"You’ve got to make shots," USC coach Andy Enfield said. "We had some good looks, especially in the first half. We played hard. Give ASU credit. They played well and beat us."
The Trojans had only 12 assists, prompting Enfield to say: "We should have had 20 assists because we missed eight or nine easy shots."
Bachynski said the key at both ends of the court for ASU was playing as a team.
"We moved the ball around very well, we established an inside presence early," he said. "That’s team basketball, getting everybody involved. We knew that they’re a driving team. We knew if we took that away, they would struggle. The score might not have showed it, but it was a battle."
Byron Wesley, a 6-foot-5 junior, led the Trojans (9-6, 0-2) with 20 points and a career-high 14 rebounds. He was the only player in double figures for USC, which won its first seven games at Galen Center this season and its last two last season.
"It’s just tough losing," said Wesley, whose team lost 107-73 to crosstown rival UCLA in its Pac-12 opener. "It’s a team game. We’ve all got to pick it up and play better."
Both teams return to action Sunday night — USC entertains No. 1 Arizona and ASU plays at UCLA. The Wildcats (16-0, 3-0) beat the Bruins (12-3, 1-1) 79-75 at Pauley Pavilion earlier Thursday night.
USC then plays road games at Utah (12-3, 1-2) and No. 15 Colorado (14-2, 3-0). The Trojans’ first five Pac-12 opponents entered Thursday night’s action with a cumulative record of 65-10.
"We’re still confident," Wesley said. "We’re not scared of (Arizona)."
The Sun Devils led 44-28 at halftime thanks mainly to USC’s poor shooting (12 of 35, including 2 of 10 from 3-point range) and the 11 turnovers. ASU shot 7-for-20 before making seven of its last nine shots in the half and was 6 of 12 from beyond the arc.
ASU wound up shooting 46.4 percent (26 of 56) and committed 13 turnovers.
Neither team led by more than three points until ASU outscored USC 9-2 for a 22-15 lead with 7:19 left before halftime, putting the Sun Devils ahead for good.
Carson, averaging 18.7 points entering the game, was blanked until scoring five straight points in a span of 18 seconds to extend ASU’s lead to 32-19 with 4:35 left in the half. Carson missed four field goals and two free throws before scoring his first points.
The Trojans, coming off a 107-73 loss to crosstown rival UCLA, scored the first six points of the second half to draw within 10, but ASU responded with a 9-1 run for a 53-35 lead with 16 1/2 minutes remaining. USC wasn’t closer than 15 points after that.