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ASU Basketball: Sun Devils snatch first win at UCLA since 2009

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Devils overcome slow start

NCAA Basketball: Arizona State at UCLA Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona State may have taken the saying, “it’s not how you start it’s how you finish,” a little too seriously in Los Angeles. ASU (14-5, 5-2 Pac-12) used a big second half to win at UCLA (10-9, 3-3) for the first time since 2009. The Sun Devils outscored the Bruins by 12 points in the second half to win 84-73 for their third straight victory.

The UCLA Bruins handled the Sun Devils for the first few minutes, but after waking up, ASU made a game of it after putting itself in a hole early on. Sophomore guard Remy Martin was a large part in ASU’s win.

The Sun Devils battled back to gain the lead multiple times in the first half, and went into halftime down one. Despite only having two points in the first half, Martin’s energetic dunk and eight assists helped erase the abysmal ASU start. Martin finished with 15 points and a career-high 11 assists to finish with a double-double against the Bruins.

Martin waited until the second half to take control scoring instead of passing. After the break, the sophomore guard went 5 of 9 with 3 three-pointers. He fueled a stretch where the game was tied at 54 to a 12-point ASU lead in under eight minutes.

It seemed as if the Sun Devils didn’t know when the game tipped off in Pauley Pavilion, ASU started the contest down 11-0. Freshman forward Taeshon Cherry came off the bench and within seconds scored ASU’s first points on Thursday. Cherry and senior forward De’Quon Lake put together the first 13 points for ASU off the bench.

Redshirt senior forward Zylan Cheatham’s layup with 12:11 left in the first half was the first bucket by a Sun Devil starter. Eventually all the starters got into the scoring column after Cherry and Lake kept the team afloat.

Sophomore forward Kimani Lawrence added 15 points, his most in conference play so far. It also improves the Sun Devils’ record to 8-0 when he scores 11 or more points. Freshman guard Luguentz Dort continued his most consistent play with his team-high 16 points. Cheatham finished with nine points and a career-high 20 rebounds.

With Cheatham leading the charge, the Sun Devils grabbed nine more rebounds than the Bruins in the second half after the two teams were nearly identical in the first half.

An injury concern for the Sun Devils was Cherry did not play at all in the second half. According to the Athletic’s Doug Haller, Cherry went into the locker room during the first half with the attention on his left knee.

ASU will attempt to collect their first conference road sweep when they travel to the USC Trojans on Saturday at 6:00 p.m Arizona time. The Trojans are riding a two-game winning streak after a defensive showcase against Arizona on Thursday as well.