Ok, I think I figured it out... after studying it for like 3 hours!
The pattern is knitted flat, with the handles added on the top and bottom, then, the bag is constructed by folding the top up to the bottom and having *2* side seams. I was thinking there was only one side seam, so it would be easier to knit ITR. But since there is two side seams, then the 120 rows need to be converted to the correct number of stitches on the round needles and I'd be knitting from the side rather than from the top. any suggestions on figuring the right number?