Arizona State men’s basketball won their season opener in thrilling fashion against Cal State Fullerton Titans by a score of 102-94 Tuesday night at Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe.
It took longer than 40 minutes to finish, and the Titans proved to be a more than worthy challenge for ASU.
Sun Devil freshman Luguentz Dort started off slow but caught fire in the second half as he finished with 28 points and nine rebounds, but also displayed incredible athleticism on the defensive end while exciting the home crowd in the process.
The Sun Devils got off to a slow start from the field, as they missed their first nine shot attempts. The slow shooting start continued most of the first half, as ASU finished the half at from the field.
ASU’s defense was active from the start, showing off their athleticism and size by deflecting passes and forcing 10 turnovers. They would however waiver as they game progressed, allowing the Titans to shoot from the field.
Arizona State controlled the majority of the game until the Titans took a 56-55 lead just under the 10-minute mark.
It then became a back-and-forth battle as neither team would let up down the stretch.
Finally concluding when ASU pulled away in double overtime to take the lead for good.
Sophomore forward Kimani Lawrence contributed 16 points, and matched his total number of three point baskets from all of last season by hitting three from behind the arc.
Remy Martin’s season debut wasn’t as impressive as the sophomore came off the bench and has dealt with an ankle injury before the season. Martin finished with eight points, five rebounds and four assists in 31 minutes.
Cal State Fullerton played ASU tough throughout and got key contributions offensively from their guards.
Senior guard Kyle Allman, Jr. finished with 33 and Khalil Ahmad scored 31 points as the ASU backcourt struggled to find answers on how to defend the duo.
Free throw shooting however was a sore spot for Arizona State, as they shot 26-44 from the charity stripe, while the Titans were 19-26 from the line. ASU was able to get to the line fairly easily, but will need to do a better job of cashing in on those opportunities in the future.
The Sun Devils now turn their attention to McNesse State who come to Wells Fargo Arena Friday night.