Arizona State (20-9, 11-6) managed to hold off Oregon State (17-11, 9-7) by a final score of 74-71 on Sunday night at Gill Coliseum.
Trailing by seven points at the half, ASU came out of the gates in the final 20 minutes of play and cut into the lead right away. Leading the charge was sophomore guard Remy Martin, who finished with 13 points on 4-9 shooting.
What plagued the Sun Devils the most was consistent foul trouble. Martin received his fourth personal foul with just under 14 minutes remaining in the second half, and multiple other players had to walk a tight rope courtesy of a lot of whistles.
Senior forward De’Quon Lake fouled out on Sunday, while Martin and redshirt sophomore forward Romello White dealt with four fouls for ASU. Additionally, sophomore forward Kimani Lawrence and freshman guard Luguentz Dort both handled themselves with three fouls.
Despite all of that mayhem, ASU found a way to prevail as they made a variety of clutch plays down the stretch to secure sole possession of second place in the Pac-12 Conference.
Martin and redshirt junior guard Rob Edwards both had 13 points, and senior forward Zylan Cheatham had 12 points. As he often does, Cheatham also factored into the play on the glass, as he snatched 10 rebounds. He also made an impact going up against the 7-foot presence of Beaver junior forward Kylor Kelly.
Cheatham battled with Kelly all night long, and he even dropped in a couple highly-contested buckets over the big man.
Cheatham, Edwards, and Martin were in double-figures, but perhaps the best performance of the night came from Dort. He ended the game with 20 points on 4-8 shooting, and he was 8-12 from the charity stripe in an area where he has struggled this season.
At times this year, Dort has fallen upon hard times from distance and from the free throw line. However, those woes were put in the rearview on Sunday, as the Canadian freshman drilled two huge threes late in the game.
The dagger that put ASU in the driver’s seat was a Dort three right in front of the Sun Devil bench. On a pass that was thrown outside from the high post, Dort buried a wide open triple to make a 68-67 lead a four-point game with under a minute remaining. The play also came off a timeout.
Then with under 30 seconds remaining, Dort hit two clutch free throws to help seal a win. Oregon State had a chance to possibly tie the game on a last second Stephen Thompson Jr. heave from midcourt, but it clanked off the backboard, giving ASU its second consecutive 20-win season under Bobby Hurley.
The victory and the road split had big implications for a variety of reasons. First of all, it secured a first-round bye for the Devils in the Pac-12 Tournament. It also gave them sole possession of second place, and the worst fate they could find themselves in with just one game to play is a tie for second.
After a poor showing at Oregon to start the road trip, Sunday’s game ended things on a high note, and it made ASU’s spot on the bubble just a little more comfortable. Up next, the regular season will come to a conclusion in Tucson when the Devils take on Arizona on March 9.