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November 16, 2013

Bachynski sets career blocks record in win

One minute and twenty-two seconds into the second half, it appeared that no one in Wells Fargo Arena knew what had just happened on Arizona State's most recent possession. There was no standing ovation or even a spike in the decibel level.

Not even senior center Jordan Bachynski knew what had happened until Arizona State associate head coach Eric Musselman told him about his impressive feat that he had just accomplished.

Coming into the game against Idaho State, Bachynski had tallied 188 blocks throughout his three-plus years at ASU, and needed four blocks to break the all-time record previously held by Mario Bennett with 191.

With 18 minutes and 38 seconds left in the game, Bachynski made his emphatic fourth block of the night to put him on top with 192 blocks and during the ensuing media timeout received unanimous applause from Sun Devil fans inside the arena after they learned of the achievement from the public address announcer.

Bachynski finished with six blocks in the game and now has 194 total to this point in his career as ASU earned an 88-60 victory over the Bengals.

"It feels good," Bachynski said. "Like I said last week I'm just really fortunate to play on a team where I can do that. Coaches have really encouraged me to develop that and to play hard and help my team any way I could. We knew today that their guards are drivers and they there were going to take it to the hoop so I needed to be there on help side. It really, really helped."

The 7-foot-2, 250 pound senior from Calgary, Alberta also finished with a double-double with 10 points on 75 percent shooting from the floor, four of five from the free throw line and 10 rebounds, four of which came on the offensive end.

While it hasn't been top competition the Sun Devils have been playing thus far, Bachynski had his third straight double-double Friday and has been a big factor in all three wins for ASU this season. Playing with a tough but efficient mindset was Bachynski's plan before the season.

"Honestly it's a mentality," Bachynski said. "[First-year ASU assistant Stan] Johnson has done a really, really good job with helping me have a mentality of just going hard at everything, being aggressive in attacking the rim. It's really helped in practice; he's beating up on the posts with the pads and it's really helped me get stronger and more aggressive."

As the game wore on, there was something to be said about the inside presence that Bachynski continued to develop. In the first half, the Bengals continued to try to drive the lane and post up. As the blowout match went on and the blocks kept on accumulating, the Bengals increasingly were hesitant to go inside.

"I thought when he played for the (Canadian) national team that went a long way toward helping his confidence and putting him in a really good place," Sun Devil head coach Herb Sendek said. "I've been saying this but I'll go ahead and repeat it in a form of a question. Wouldn't any of us be hard-pressed to find a more improved college basketball player over the last four years other than Jordan Bachynski? I mean, not to take anything away from him from where he started, but boy we really started at the beginning and if there is a more improved guy over four years, I'd like to see him. I think it's incredible the way he's continued to develop."

Bachynski said Sendek's 2012-13 transition from match-up zone defense to man-to-man scheme was a catalyst for his explosive rise up the career blocks list at the school.

"It really does come down to the defense," Bachynski said. "In Herb's old defense, I had to close out a lot to the corner and I had to be away from the basket. It was tough to rebound and tough to block shots. He made a change and it's been a huge difference, especially with setting the Pac-12 single season record (last season) and then this year, it's just been a world of a difference."

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