ASU Basketball: Sun Devil guards outlast Cal State Fullerton in double OT

LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 24: Remy Martin
LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 24: Remy Martin /

ASU basketball opened the 2018-19 season with a 102-94 win in double overtime against the reigning Big West champion, Cal State Fullerton.

Perhaps Arizona State is not prepared to abandon its moniker of “Guard U” just yet.

In a 102-94 win over Cal State Fullerton, a game that required two extra periods, it was the Sun Devils’ array of ball handlers, large and small alike that carried them to an opening-night victory.

The Titans’ backcourt duo of Khalil Ahmad and Kyle Allman Jr. gave their Pac-12 foe all it could handle, combining for 64 points.  However, the starting five of ASU was more balanced, totaling 80 points to withstand the scoring barrage.

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“They were tough guards. That was a [NCAA] Tournament team last year and those were the two leading guards,” forward Kimani Lawrence said. “We tried not to underestimate them.”

During a first half in which both teams struggled to score, forward Zylan Cheatham paced the offensive attack with eight points and six rebounds. The 6-foot-8 redshirt senior continued to receive minutes, though limited on Tuesday, as a point-forward hybrid given his ability to create.

Out of halftime, freshman Luguentz Dort took command of the reins, rebounding from a 1-for-7 start to record 17 of his team-high 28 points in the second half.

A versatile scorer, Dort connected from distance three times, attempted 13 free throws and showed an ability to follow his shot. Standing 6-foot-5, he also finished with a game-high nine rebounds.

The four-star recruit captivated spectators throughout Wells Fargo Arena with his poise and athleticism. Following the game, however, the freshman admitted to being nervous ahead of his first collegiate appearance.

Though Dort sparked ASU late in the second half and in overtime, the impact of guard Remy Martin helped close out the win.

An ankle injury sidelined the sophomore for three weeks leading up to the season before playing 31 minutes in his return, converting a pair of difficult layups to put the Sun Devils ahead for good.

“He’s playing basically at like 60 percent of who he is physically,” coach Bobby Hurley said. “He can make a big jump out of this game and his role will continue to grow.”

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With the win, ASU moves to 1-0 and returns to action on Friday against McNeese State at Wells Fargo Arena.

All quotes in this article were obtained firsthand by Devils in Detail unless otherwise noted.