The late 9 p.m. start foreshadowed the ensuing rough first half for Arizona State and Oregon State. The anti-climatic initial 20 minutes were forgotten because of an incredible finish, as the Sun Devils gutted it out the to defeat the Beavers 86-82 in overtime.
February 6, 2014 will go down in the history books because Jordan Bachynski broke the all-time conference record with 279 blocks. But more importantly to the entire Sun Devil team, they earned a much-needed win.
The annual tradition of honoring James Harden came back to bite the home team. The 942 crew decided to be completely silent until Jahii Carson and Co. surpassed 13 points. Jordan Bachynski allowed the student section to finally erupt at the 8:42 marker. Giving up home court advantage for 11:31 wasn't the smartest decision and it caught the Maroon and Gold off guard.
The lack of cheers coincided with Arizona State struggling from the field, going 9-29 (31%) until half time. The Beavers weren't too much better at 12-30 (40%). The Sun Devils lacked motion on offense but their defense kept the game competitive.
After the early game woes, the Sun Devils got back on track right after intermission. In the initial 2:53 minutes of the second half, Arizona State went on an 11-3 run, headlined by Jermaine Marshall, Carson and Bachynski. The trio combined to notched 65 points. Marshall led all players with 25 points.
Carson helped get the offense back on track by attacking the paint, drawing 18 free throws and converting on 13. Oregon State consistently tried to force Carson to his left hand, and the tactic was successful. Despite exposing one of Carson's weaknesses, he still posted 23 points and six assists.
The strong Arizona State defensive effort started and finished with Bachynski blocking or altering shots. The Beavers had trouble finishing over Bachynski in the crowded paint area. Besides the trademark swats, Bachynski entered the scoring book often in numerous ways. Bachynski accumulated 17 points, 15 rebounds and seven blocks and it was arguably his best collegian outing.
Bachynski seized control of the all-time conference record for blocked shots at the optimal time, stuffing Oregon State's game tying attempt with 28 seconds left.
Oregon State's star player, Roberto Nelson, seemed off until the waning moments. Early on Nelson barely saw playing time as he battled foul troubles. Nelson regained steam and silently tacked on 26 points via numerous clutch baskets. Shaquille McKissic drew the assignment, and despite the stat book, he did an amazing job.
The game was up for grabs down to the final moments. As the clock ticked down to the last few seconds, Carson rimmed out on the game-winning jumper, sending it to overtime.
Bachynski fouled out midway through extra time, forcing Arizona State to go small. Jonathan Gilling was therefore thrown into the spotlight after a rough night and seized the opportunity, nailing from deep on multiple occasions. The Sun Devils held firm control of the additional five minutes, but almost choked it away on missed foul shots.
This gutsy win allows Arizona State to gain confidence heading into Saturday's clash with Oregon.