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Sun Devil basketball impresses in dominant win over Nebraska Omaha

ASU basketball looks sharp in 89-71 victory over Nebraska Omaha


ASU redshirt senior forward Zylan Cheatham (45) looks confused at a call in a game against Cal State Fullerton at Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe, Arizona, on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018.

It took a little longer than most fans were expecting, but ASU men's basketball was eventually able to pull away in an 89-71 takedown of the Nebraska Omaha Mavericks. Freshman guard Luguentz Dort once again claimed a share of the team's dominance by leading in scoring with 19 points to go along with his four rebounds and four assists.

Redshirt senior Zylan Cheatham also contributed by almost notching a triple-double with an impressive performance of 13 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists.  

“We came out slow, picked it back up, and in the second half I liked how we came out,” Cheatham said. “We haven’t put together two halves yet, and that’s the exciting part of this is we’ve accomplished a lot and we haven’t even scratched the surface of what we’re going to be.” 

With the Sun Devils guard depth heavily depleted, much of the Sun Devil offense ran through Cheatham as he flaunted versatility and athleticism that few in the conference can match. He also showed off his ridiculous hops, throwing down a windmill slam.

“Zylan’s approach I thought was unbelievable,” coach Bobby Hurley said. “His patience, his unselfishness, his passing and his defense; he’s a winner and that kid is a heck of a player. It’s really great when we have a guy like that out there.”

Cheatham’s command of the offense as a whole was incredibly impressive, as his ability to run the offense from his point-forward position is one of the many unique wrinkles this Sun Devil team can throw at opponents. ASU’s starting lineup Wednesday featured four different players listed at either 6’7 or 6’8, boasting an offensive and defensive flexibility that few teams will be able to match. 

“Basketball sometimes comes down to matchups, and where you have advantages on the floor,”  Hurley said. “When you have Dort, Cherry, Zylan, either Lake or Romello White, and Kimani (on the court) there’s a lot of guys who can make plays out there. With Zylan’s unique ability to knife his way to the basket, we’re going to play through him quite a bit in a number of different ways."

Freshman forward Taeshon Cherry earned his first start of the season, as injuries to sophomore guard Remy Martin, redshirt junior guard Rob Edwards and junior forward Mickey Mitchell substantially shortened Hurley’s bench. Cherry in turn responded with his best game of the young season, pouring in 19 points on 8-12 shooting. 

“As soon as (Cherry) committed, we knew he could help us. We knew what he could bring to the table,” Cheatham said. “He’s shooting with confidence and playing with confidence, and that’s what we’re going to need him to do down the stretch.” 

Wednesday’s win preserved ASU's undefeated record as the team moves to 6-0 on the season. The team hosts the Texas Southern Tigers Saturday before traveling to Los Angeles to take on the No. 5 Nevada Wolfpack on Dec. 7th.

Reach the reporter at or follow @jacobrosenfarb on Twitter. 

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