Arizona State anxiously awaited hosting Marquette. The game lived up to the hype, as the game went down to the final possession before the Sun Devils pulled off a 79-77 victory.
The ideal plan entering Monday night: earn a crucial nonconference victory while packing the house at Wells Fargo Arena. Both goals were accomplished.
Marquette guard Jake Thomas scored 16 total points and all of them came in the second half. With the Sun Devils leading by one in the final ten seconds, Thomas attempted a potential game-winning shot right inside the top of the key. Jermaine Marshall grabbed the rebound in traffic and converted 1-of-2 from the free throw line.
"I knew that as [Wilson] was coming around the corner, I knew that he was going to take it," Bachysnki said. "So I just leaped over, and jumped, and prayed and blocked the shot.
Even though Backysnki switched his number from 13 to 42 after getting banged up early on, you couldn't miss his presence in the middle. Bachynski forced Marquette to settle for more long distance shots than usual. The 7-foot-2 center controlled the paint and ended up with 14 points, 11 rebounds and seven blocks, his sixth consecutive double-double. The Golden Eagles' big front line was expected to give Bachynski problems. Instead Bachynski looked very aggressive and fluid.
"Definitely happy with how far I've come. I still feel I have a ways to go," Bachynski said. "I'm playing with a new confidence that I never had before."
Herb Sendek took the Bachynski compliments a step further.
"I've been saying it all year, and at some point maybe 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," Sendek said. "But I know Jordan has to be in that conversation. I thought Jordan was just terrific today. And the numbers he's posting, they are hard to beat."
The Sun Devils were excellent from beyond the arc (45.5 percent) and it propelled them to an important win over the Golden Eagles. From deep, Carson went 3-for-5, Marshall went 3-for-7 and Jonathan Gilling went 2-for-3. In the offseason, Carson focused on expanding his range and the hard work is paying off.
"Jermaine came to me after the time out and was like 'we still need you to be aggressive.' My job is to find the mismatches and exploit them. Carson said. "We need to run and get some buckets. I felt like they were being a little bit fatigued. So I had to keep pushing the basketball and making plays. The more plays I make, the more the defense has to commit to me. And the more plays I can make to my teammates."
Marshall was one of the by products of the extra attention Carson attracted. After only scoring five points against Bradley, Marshall bounced back to put up 21 points.
The physical nature of Monday's affair can be taxing. Arizona State won't get much rest, as the Sun Devils head to California to participate in the Wooden Legacy tournament. No. 23 ranked Creighton will be the Sun Devils' first opponent on Thanksgiving Day.
"It's really an amazing week of basketball for our team. If you count next Sunday as part of this week, [we play] four games this week," Sendek said. "And now we have a very short turnaround for Thanksgiving game against Creighton."
Other game notes
- The trio of Carson, Bachynski and Marshall combined to score 58 points.
- Marquette shot 34.7 percent from the three-point marker, significantly higher than their 18.1 average.
- Foul trouble plagued the Sun Devils all night. Carson was forced to sit the final 6-plus minutes of the first half because of two fouls. When he exited, ASU led by 11 and the lead was only cut down by one point. Marquette took advantage initially but the Sun Devil role players responded nicely.
- Egor Koulechov remained in the ASU starting lineup and helped out immensely. The freshman from Russia notched nine points and successfully tracked the sharp shooting Thomas.
- Despite the crowd drawing a technical foul for throwing objects onto the court, Sendek expressed heavy praise towards them. Sendek grabbed the PA microphone and asked the fans to refrain from doing so again. The mistake cost ASU one point.
- Carson believes this win is a statement game, yet there is still a lot to prove.