Something must have been in the rain falling in Tempe on Saturday afternoon. A rare event outside led to another one inside Wells Fargo Arena as Arizona State upset UCLA 78-60.
Carrick Felix and Jordan Bachynski led the way for the Sun Devils. Felix finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds on 8-12 shooting. “It was just another chapter in what has to be to me one of the all time great senior years,” ASU head coach Herb Sendek said. “He’s everywhere on defense, the heart that he’s playing with its just fun to watch.” In a microcosm of this very point, Jordan Adams stole the ball from Evan Gordon as the clock ran down and tried to get a cheap dunk. Felix hustled back to the rim and blocked Adams shot as time expired.
Bachynski had been in a bit of a slump. The big man had 22 points with 15 rebounds and six blocks. Bachynski also had more offensive rebounds (8) than defensive rebounds (7). “Coach told us we had two keys in order to win, one was rebounding and the other was 50/50 balls and I just took that to heart,” Bachynski said. “I knew I’d have a slight advantage in the post against Wear… I knew what I had to do.” Despite a slow start, Bachynski said he just gathered himself mentally and went back at it. “The key for Jordan today was he was really aggressive,” Sendek said.
Freshman Jahii Carson shot 4 of 16 from the field but still impacted the game in a big way finishing with 12 points and 8 assists. “We owe a lot to Jahii., he just kind of controls things for us,” Sendek said. The Sun Devils also played a stifling defensive game. Despite 19 points from Jordan Adams and 18 points from Jordan Adams, ASU held UCLA to 34.7% (25-72) from the field and 20.8% (5-24) from beyond the arc. The Sun Devils also out rebounded UCLA 53-33. “We definitely played with energy and effort, we played strong the whole game… we definitely won this game with our defense,” said Carrick Felix. “The defensive end of the floor more than anything was the difference for us.”
The only downside for ASU was the 14 turnovers, more than coach Sendek admitted he would have liked. However it does say a lot that the Sun Devils were able to overcome their flaws. Don’t forget that ASU also won with what was really just a six man rotation and without the help of suspended guard Chris Colvin. 46 points in the paint was a huge help to ASU who took advantage of their size down low and played their most balanced game against one of their toughest opponents of the season. However the Sun Devils aren’t done yet and Felix and Carson made that clear. “I think we’re ready, I think our confidence is back up and we’re ready to go out there and win some more games,” Carson said. “Everybody stepped up… if everybody shows up and we play hard the sky’s the limit for us,” Felix said.