Jordan Bachynski, Arizona State’s big-lug-of-a-Canadian, was as good a place as any to start.
There was so much Arizona State did right, and so much UCLA did wrong, at the Wells Fargo Arena on Saturday in Tempe, Ariz. But where you could hang the Sun Devils’ 78-60 victory was from Bachynski’s 7-foot-2 frame.
“I never heard of the guy,” UCLA’s Shabazz Muhammad said. “He was huge.”
Literally and figuratively.
The Sun Devils found UCLA’s weakness and exploited it.
Bachynski was the difference-maker. He had 22 points, 15 rebounds and six blocked shots. It underscored again the Bruins’ woes against teams with a strong inside presence.
“I told our guys last night, that kid is going to make a lot of money playing basketball,” UCLA coach Ben Howland said. “He blocked two or three shots and we kept testing him and he kept blocking them. We got to learn.”
The Bruins trailed only 39-33 at halftime, but it seemed like they might collapse at any moment. The Sun Devils stretched that lead to 14 four minutes into the second half.
“There was no motivation,” Muhammad said. “We got such a great win (Thursday). Everyone was so satisfied. Everyone was happy. We didn’t look forward to this game as much. We’ve got to learn, as players, even when you get big wins, you’ve got to win the ones you really need.”
True, the Bruins were without forward Travis Wear, their third-leading scorer. It shortened an already thin bench, leaving UCLA with only seven scholarship players. But it would be hard to say fatigue was an issue.
Arizona State went overtime to beat USC on Thursday, a game that ended after 11 p.m. And four Sun Devils played at least 38 minutes against the Bruins. All looked fresh at the end.
Bachynski had eight offensive rebounds. UCLA had eight as a team. Bachynski had career highs in points and rebounds, and his wingspan made the paint a no-fly zone.
“Even when he didn’t get the block, he was changing our shots,” said Adams, who led UCLA with 19 points.
Arizona State had a 53-33 rebounding edge, with three players in double digits – Bachynski, Jonathan Gilling (12) and Carrick Felix (11).
The Sun Devils worked the Bruins’ undersized interior like an exposed nerve. Felix, who had 23 points, made 8 of 12 shots, mostly by posting up Muhammad. Bachynski made 10 of 12 shots.
“They were scoring every time,” said Muhammad, who had 18 points. “We couldn’t get our break going because we couldn’t play any defense.”
(6) Arizona 74, Southern Cal 50: Nick Johnson scored 14 points and the Wildcats used a stifling defense to bounce back from a home loss to UCLA and rout the Trojans in Tucson, Ariz.
The Wildcats were dominant from the opening tip, jumping out to leads of 18-4 and 29-7. They were up 39-20 at halftime.
The Trojans, who shot 28 percent, trailed by as many as 34 in the second half.
Solomon Hill added 13 points, Brandon Ashley 11 and Kaleb Tarczewski 10 for Arizona. No USC player reached double figures in the Trojans’ lowest-scoring game of the season. Jio Fontan scored nine.
USC dropped to 1-3 since Kevin O’Neill was fired and replaced by interim coach Bob Cantu. The other two losses were by one point to Oregon and 98-93 in overtime Thursday night at Arizona State.
This one was a blowout in a hurry.