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No. 21 ASU catches fire in second half, dismantles Colorado

Arizona State guard Tra Holder (0) drives past Colorado guard McKinley Wright IV during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018,in Tempe, Ariz. Arizona State won 80-66. (AP Photo/Matt York)

TEMPE, Ariz. – Patience was key for the Arizona State Sun Devils as they rebounded from Thursday’s loss to Utah with an 80-66 win over Colorado at Wells Fargo Arena on Saturday.

With ASU’s shooters ice cold from three-point range in the first half, the Sun Devils looked like a different team.

But even with the poor start, the Sun Devils kept it close, scoring 22 of their 32 points in the paint and playing sound defense that resulted in 12 Colorado turnovers.

All ASU needed to do was weather the storm as their shooters found their stroke in the second half, lighting up Colorado’s defense from long range – including a stretch of five straight to extend the lead to 62-55 that helped swing the momentum fully in ASU’s favor.

The Sun Devils didn’t look back as they extended their lead to 14 and took home the win.

The Bad:

For the first time all season, the Sun Devils failed to make a three-pointer in the first half, shooting 0-for-10 in the first 20 minutes of play.

In addition to the poor shooting to start, ASU failed to win the rebounding battle, only registering 34 boards to Colorado’s 44 throughout the night.

The Good:

Defensively, the Sun Devils caused numerous headaches for the Buffaloes. They forced 17 turnovers throughout the night, recording eight steals in the process.

“I loved our defensive effort for 40 minutes,” ASU head coach Bobby Hurley said. “It was probably our best in Pac-12 play and possibly the best all year.

“It definitely bought us some time within that game to get our offense in gear.”

After failing to hit a three-pointer in the first half, ASU turned it on in the second, connecting on 10-of-21 deep balls.

ASU forward Vitaliy Shibel got things started for the Devils with the team’s first made three of the game at the 19:26 mark in the second half.

After that, the Devils caught fire, hitting five straight to push the lead to 7.

ASU guard Tra Holder was especially hot, shooting 4-of-8 from long range in the second half, including two back-to-back makes. He finished the night with 22 points.

But Holder wasn’t the only bright spot as another member of “Guard U,” Shannon Evans II, continued his strong second half play.

After finishing the first half with six points, Evans poured it on, scoring 13 of his 19 points in the second half.

“I felt like we found something in the second half that we can build on,” Evans said.

In the paint, De’Quon Lake continued to be a factor for the Sun Devils. He made every shot count, connecting on all five of his shot attempts and providing a spark on defense with two blocks, including a monster swat in the first half.

In regards to the turnover battle, it wasn’t close as ASU limited their mistakes. After turning the ball over seven times in the first half, they cleaned it up in the second, not recording a single turnover.

“I think we were trying to do some things we shouldn’t have done,” Hurley said. “We just talked about trying to keep it simple out there and not try to make a hero play on offense.”

Stat of the Game:

32.3: After failing to connect from deep in the first half, ASU got it done in the second, hitting 10-of-21 after starting 0-for-10.

He Said It:

“It’s been outstanding and its been consitent and it was very impactful tonight. Second half when we got rolling, we were hitting our shots and stopping them and it seemed like it just got louder and louder so it was a great atmosphere to be a part of,” Hurley said of the crowd’s influence.

Up Next:

ASU travels to Washington to take on the Huskies.

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