ARIZONA STATE BASKETBALL

Arizona State rides strong first half to Hurley’s first ASU tourney win

Mar 20, 2019, 8:52 PM | Updated: 9:43 pm
St. John's Mustapha Heron (14) shoots against Arizona State's Romello White (23) and Zylan Cheatham...

St. John's Mustapha Heron (14) shoots against Arizona State's Romello White (23) and Zylan Cheatham (45) during the first half of a First Four game of the NCAA men's college basketball tournament Wednesday, March 20, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

(AP Photo/John Minchillo)

The Arizona State Sun Devils had the luck of the draw in their First Four matchup.

St. John’s was awful on Wednesday night against the Sun Devils in the NCAA Tournament, and more importantly, ASU did enough on their end to take advantage and comfortably beat the Red Storm 74-65. It’s the Sun Devils’ first tourney win in 10 years and Bobby Hurley’s first as head coach of the program.

In the first half, St. John’s shot 9-of-31 from the field, missed four free throws and committed eight turnovers. On the other end, ASU was defending well, hitting shots and executing more than they’ve been known to in order to lead by 13.

“I really love how we started the game and really took control of the game,” Hurley said after the game via ASAP Sports.

But the biggest difference in the game was the stretches when the Sun Devils weren’t playing well. St. John’s had multiple opportunities to cut the deficit and seize the momentum up for grabs.

When ASU was up 35-17 with 5:17 left in the first half, the Sun Devils scored only three points for the remainder. St. John’s had four turnovers and shot 1-of-5 over that time, posting a 4-for-6 mark at the foul line.

In the opening 10 minutes of the second half, Arizona State scored only 12 points. The Red Storm made four of their first five shots to get the lead down to seven, but from that point on in the next six-plus minutes, St. John’s missed nine straight shots, three free throws and turned the ball over three times.

The Red Storm stuck around, not allowing ASU to pull away and truly blow the doors open and that eventually got us to the end of the game where St. John’s was down seven with 2:10 to go. Right on cue with an opportunity to close the gap in front of them, Justin Simon missed both free throws for the Red Storm and their press defense resulted in an open dunk for ASU.

Arizona State had 21 turnovers but St. John’s woeful 32.4 percent shooting from the field and 16 turnovers of its own was the great equalizer.

Sun Devils freshman guard Luguentz Dort had one of his better games of the season.

Scoring efficiently and finishing around the rim, Dort scored 21 points. Senior forward Zylan Cheatham added 14 points and 10 rebounds.

UP NEXT

The Sun Devils take on Hurley’s old team Buffalo on Friday at approximately 1 p.m.

“I’m going to say we didn’t pack for just one game,” Cheatham said. “We’re really locked in. We’re really focused. And obviously this is a big step in the right direction. But we’re not content by any means. We’re hungry for more. We want to take this season as far as it can go.”

Penguin Air

Arizona State Basketball

(AP Photo/Ralph Freso)...
Arizona Sports

Pac-12 exploring all expansion options with USC, UCLA heading to Big Ten

The Pac-12 is looking into expansion following the decisions from USC and UCLA on Thursday to head to the Big Ten as early as 2024.
6 days ago
Basketballs are rolled off the court during the NCAAB game at McKale Center on January 03, 2022 in ...
Arizona Sports

Arizona ‘extremely disappointed’ in USC, UCLA leaving Pac-12 for Big Ten

The Arizona Wildcats broke their silence Friday regarding USC's and UCLA's plans to leave the Pac-12 for the Big Ten as early as 2024.
6 days ago
UCLA plays Oregon during a Pac-12 NCAA college football game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., ...
Arizona Sports

UCLA, USC to leave Pac-12 for Big Ten in 2024

UCLA and USC will be leaving the Pac-12 for the Big Ten, beginning in the 2024-25 season, the two schools confirmed on Thursday evening.
7 days ago
Arizona State guard Shannon Evans II (11) celebrates with the cheering crowd after a making basket ...
Wills Rice

ESPN’s Gasaway: ASU, Arizona’s best basketball transfers wins

ESPN’s John Gasaway took a stab at what he thought to be the best transfers in and out of each basketball program in Pac-12 history.
1 month ago
Pac-12 logo on the field during the NCAAF game at Sun Devil Stadium on November 09, 2019 in Tempe, ...
Associated Press

Pac-12 Conference suffers 36% decrease in revenue in 2020-21

The Pac-12 suffered a 36% decrease in revenue for the 2020-21 fiscal year due to pandemic-related cancellations in football and basketball.
2 months ago
Frankie Collins #10 of the Michigan Wolverines drives to the basket against Fatts Russell #4 of the...
Arizona Sports

Arizona State lands Michigan transfer, former 4-star recruit Frankie Collins

Point guard Frankie Collins will transfer to Arizona State after playing one season at Michigan, he announced on Twitter.
2 months ago
Arizona State rides strong first half to Hurley’s first ASU tourney win