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ASU Basketball Year in Review: "Best Game"

Of the 22 wins Arizona State racked up this season, one victory stood head and shoulders above the others. Few performances in recent years match the sheer dominance the Sun Devils showed against the UCLA Bruins.

The captain delivered a memorable moment at the end of the game.
The captain delivered a memorable moment at the end of the game.
Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona State basketball team may not be dancing through March, but that doesn't mean the Sun Devils didn't have plenty of efforts to be proud of.

Coach Herb Sendek's squad was picked to finish 11th in the Pac-12 by media members, but the Sun Devils never let doubt get in the way of their quest for success.

Ultimately, Arizona State finished with a 22-13 record including a 16-4 mark at home that produced a number of memorable victories.

However, one game stands out above the rest as the game of the year.

On Jan. 26th, the UCLA Bruins came to town for a much-anticipated matchup with the upstart Sun Devils.

Arizona State owned a 15-4 record at the time, yet many fans still believed the Sun Devils lacked a marquee victory on their resume.

As for the Bruins, a slow start to the season that featured a loss to the Cal Poly Mustangs hurt their overall perception, but they appeared to have recovered nicely and stood at 16-4.

Did Arizona State have the talent to compete with the Pac-12's best? Could Jahii Carson match up with seasoned point guard Larry Drew? Would the Sun Devils find another starter besides Carson or Carrick Felix who could compete with the Bruins' talent?

As the teams took the court, the Sun Devils wasted little time in answering these questions.

Behind a dominating effort from Jordan Bachynski, the Sun Devils set the pace and the tempo in the first half.

The Sun Devils would have been content with a three-point lead heading into halftime, but junior guard Evan Gordon knocked down a 3-pointer with less than a minute to play to give his team a 39-33 lead at the break.

Gordon's perimeter dagger appeared to open the floodgates as the Sun Devils caught fire right after the half.

Bachynski continued to own the floor in the second half as his career night propelled the Sun Devils' to their biggest victory of the season.

The junior center finished with career highs in points and rebounds with 22 and 15 respectively and his stellar defensive outing included six blocks and countless altered shots.

As for team captain Carrick Felix, the senior could not be stopped en route to a game-high 23 points and 11 rebounds.

Finally, the Sun Devils proved their highly touted freshman could stack up with the best of UCLA's trio of young phenoms.

Even on an off night, Jahii Carson still managed to score 12 points and dish out eight assists in the 78-60 thumping of the Bruins.

While Shabazz Muhammad, Jordan Adams and Kyle Anderson did combine for 43 of the Bruins' 60 points, UCLA looked completely outmatched against a Sun Devil squad playing its' best basketball of the season.

The seminal moment from the win came in the closing seconds as the Sun Devils prepared to celebrate their impressive victory.

UCLA's Jordan Adams stole the ball from Evan Gordon and attempted to rush down the court to cut the margin of defeat from 18 to 16 with a driving layup.

Instead of standing for Adams' act, Carrick Felix decided to match the effort until the final whistle.

The senior wing soared in from behind and swatted away Adams' attempt as the game clock expired which became the defining moment of the Sun Devils season.

Though this team did not reach its ultimate goal, that didn't stop any player from competing until the very end.