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November 22, 2013

ASU 5-0 for first time since 1985-86 with win

While a downpour pelted the exterior of Wells Fargo Arena, Arizona State rained three-pointers inside the building in front of 5,570 during a 60-42 Arizona State victory against Bradley University Friday night.

Behind sophomore point guard Jahii Carson's back-to-back three-pointers in the middle of first half, ASU went on a 17-1 run and closed the first half on a 31-14 run from the 11:29 mark.

After making 7 of its 15 three-point attempts in the first-half, ASU proceeded to put the game in cruise control through its conclusion.

"That was a good segment for us and obviously when the shots go in and it makes a big difference, but that was a good run of us," ASU head coach Herb Sendek said. "It really was, but then it seemed like we never got any momentum in the second half. Maybe the highlights were a couple of pick and rolls with Jahii and [senior center Jordan Bachynski), but we had four points well into the second half and then only scored 27 in the last twenty minutes."

Lead by junior forward Jonathan Gilling's four three-pointers, ASU made nine three-pointers and went 25 of 52 from the field to improve its record to 5-0. Bradley dropped to 4-2, losing its first game on the road this season.

The Sun Devils are 5-0 for the first time since 1985-86.

"When you got UNLV, Bradley, then Marquette, you know, the Bradley game, sometimes, most of us overlook it," Carson said. "This is one of the games that we felt like we had to take care of business because this was one of the games that could have came back and bit us in the butt."

Carson did it all again for ASU, scoring 19 points, grabbing seven rebounds and dishing out five assists in the team's first game after his 40-point effort in a win at UNLV Tuesday.

"There can't be many college basketball players off to a better start," Sendek said. "He's doing a lot of different thing for us. I've been really impressed with his willingness to share the basketball and move the basketball. Then, obviously the other night he had a scoring explosion."

Gilling rebounded back from his 0 for 9 shooting night Tuesday with 14 points on 5 for 8 shooting, five assists and four rebounds.

"I know I can make shots," Gilling said. "I've made thousands of shots in my life so I know I can make them it was just a matter of making them fall. So, I always have confidence."

Coaches had trust in Gilling to bounce back and Sendek commented on how they looked to get him involved early.

"John knows he's a good shooter," Sendek said. "The one things about John is that he rolls with the flow and if anybody had the capacity to bounce back after something like that it's John. He's an easy-going guy, he rolls with the flow and I had no doubt that he would come out tonight and shoot the ball well."

Senior junior college transfer Shaquielle McKissic had six assists in 10 minutes coming off the bench in the first half after losing his starting position to true freshman Egor Koulechov, who played 23 minutes and had five points and two rebounds.

"We just really felt that Egor deserved the start with his amazing hustle at UNLV," Sendek said. "McKissic had seven assists and no turnovers. He really set his teammates up for some outstanding shots and it was nice to see we had 21 assists for 25 field goals."

Bachynski recorded his fifth consecutive double-double of the season and finished the night with 15 points and 10 rebounds to go along with five blocks.

Coming into the season, Bachynski had a career total of five double-doubles, making his streak of double-double games this season even more impressive.

ASU started off slow at the game's outset, shooting 5 of 11 from the field before going on the huge run to break away and take a commanding lead.

"One of the big factors tonight for us was Bradley really controlled the tempo of the game," Sendek said. "Even when we got the ball it seemed like we were content to play at their tempo so the game didn't really have a lot of pace to it. A great deal of that is a function of what Bradley did but we kind of went along with it."

Despite the slow pace, one key thing that kept ASU in the game in the beginning was poor free throw shooting on Bradley's part. It was 1 of 6 from the free throw line seven minutes into the game, with the score tied 12-12.

ASU finished 11 for 14 on free throw shooting, while Bradley went 4 for 11 on the night.

ASU was out-rebounded 11-5 in the opening minutes of the first half until going on the 17-1 run in which ASU gained back the rebounding edge, 11 to 10.

ASU continued to dominate on the glass, winning the rebounding battle 33-29 overall. Besides Bachynski's 10 rebounds, Carson's seven rebounds were the second-most for ASU.

"The big guys are down there rebounding and most of the time on the defensive glass, the point guard on offense stays back," Carson said. "I just try to sneak in there and get the rebounds that the big guys can't get because they are boxing out down other guys. So I just try to sneak in there and try to get as many as I can."

While ASU has been averaging 90.0 points per game, it only totaled 70 points Friday night, well below average and way below Carson's liking. With their up-tempo style of play, ASU prefers to run, score fast and knock down the three-pointers.

"Seventy points is a lot of points, but I think we had 56 points (at one point) and I said in the huddle that we only had 56," Carson said. "We want to try to get 100 every night and 70 is not a lot for us."

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