Every time Cal State Northridge had an opportunity to claw back against Arizona State, the Matadors saw their efforts swatted away.
Jordan Bachynski finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds, but Bachynski had his greatest impact on the defensive end of the floor accumulating a career-high 12 blocks in a performance that will live on in the Arizona State record books.
The Sun Devils dominated nearly every aspect of their matinee tilt en route to an 87-76 victory over the Cal State Northridge Matadors. Arizona State improves to 8-1 for just the fourth time in the last 38 seasons, but Bachynski accomplished an even more historic feat with the first triple-double in Arizona State history.
"It's been a long road. This is a testament to the great coaching staff we have here. They do a phenomenal job developing players," Bachynski said.
Bachynski wasn't the only player to shine in the Arizona State victory, as five different Sun Devils finished in double figures against the Matadors. Arizona State freshman Jahii Carson led all scorers with 21 points, and displayed his uncanny ability to finish in traffic with a number of highlight reel buckets.
Arizona State opened the game on fire from the field as Evan Gordon led the charge with 14 first half points, but their hustle on the defensive end of the floor equally impressed Coach Herb Sendek. The Sun Devils held the Matadors to just 12-36 shooting in the first half as Bachynski confounded his opponents in the post.
"Having Jordan back there to save us makes a world of difference. Anytime you have a shot blocker like that, it's not just the one he gets, he's also changing some other shots as well," Sendek said.
Cal State Northridge entered today's contest with a record of 7-2, but took a beating in their previous outing against the UCLA Bruins in Westwood. The Sun Devils capitalized on poor defensive rotations by the Matadors and hit eight three pointers including six in the first half.
The Sun Devils held a 41-31 advantage at halftime, and kept up their momentum on defense out of the break. Bachynski opened the second half with two blocks in the first 90 seconds, and continued on his path to the record books from that point on. Though Cal State Northridge finished with 76 points, many of those came with the Sun Devils in control of the game.
Carrick Felix amassed 17 points and three monster dunks, Evan Gordon added 20, and Jonathan Gilling tallied 12 points, but the spotlight belonged to Jordan Bachynski.
Perhaps the most impressive part about Bachynski's record-setting outing is that he reached double digits in points, rebounds, and blocks with over 15 minutes to play in the second half. Additionally, Bachynski did not pick up a single person foul against the Matadors.
A few Sun Devil greats including Eddie House and Byron Scott came within a couple of rebounds of the statistical milestone in some of their best performances, but the triple-double has rarely been approached throughout Sun Devil history. Bachynski had a feeling he was gracing rarified air, but he insists that he doesn't watch the stat sheet.
"You can't lose focus even for a second. You can't have that in your mind, I just have to continue to play hard and get out there," Bachynski said.
The Sun Devils played a relatively clean game, but Cal State Northridge did manage to have four different players score at least 10 points and were led by 18 from sophomore Steven Hicks.
Overall, Arizona State can take pride in their fast start to the season as the Sun Devils improve to 8-1 through their first nine games. Last season, Arizona State did not notch its eighth victory until February 9th and Coach Herb Sendek knows the importance of winning in the early going. The Sun Devils look to continue their success against DePaul on Wednesday night, as Arizona State seeks to avenge last season's loss.
"Our guys who were here last year remember. It's obviously a big game, a Big East opponent, and we're looking forward to it," Sendek said.