Luguentz Dort played his fifth collegiate basketball game on Wednesday, and it seemed all of the weight of Las Vegas was on his shoulders. In T-Mobile Arena, Dort outscored everyone with his 33 points. He led the Sun Devils in rebounds. He basically never saw touched the bench in the second half playing almost all 20 minutes.
Dort fueled a much better second half for Arizona State (5-0), who started to pull away from the Utah State Aggies (5-1) with 10 minutes left in the game. The Sun Devils finished on top 87-82 to win the the MGM Main Event Championship.
Dort even as a freshman, took the game in his hands because of the lack of depth of his team in Vegas. Redshirt junior guard Rob Edwards didn’t travel to Las Vegas due to his back injury. Sophomore guard Remy Martin still wasn’t 100% and trainers attended to his injured ankle during the game. ASU’s entire front court found themselves in foul trouble, redshirt sophomore forward Romello White and senior forward De’Quon Lake fouled out. Sophomore forward Kimani Lawrence, freshman forward Taeshon Cherry and redshirt senior forward Zylan Cheatham all finished with four fouls.
None of it mattered to Dort though, he kept getting to the free throw line, he went 11-for-14 from the stripe. When the Sun Devils were only up two at halftime, Dort was the only Sun Devil with more than one made field goal. Whether it was a flawless three-point shot, an acrobatic layup or a hammered down dunk, Dort commanded the ASU attack.
Once his teammates of Martin and Cherry started to help out is when Arizona State finally had control of the game. Cherry played his best minutes as a Sun Devil before he got into foul trouble. He contributed the second most points behind Dort with 15, nine points off the three-ball. Cherry’s shooting ability covered up for Lawrence’s poor night of 1-for-8.
The Sun Devils continue their regular season non-conference streak, and will look to continue next week in Tempe. They’ll face Nebraska-Omaha at Wells Fargo Arena at 7 p.m. Arizona time on November 28.