ASU falls to Colorado in Pac-12 Tourney, NCAA hopes in jeopardy
Arizona State wanted a strong Pac-12 Tournament run to bolster its NCAA Tournament resume and rekindle the form that helped it cruise through 12 nonconference games with a perfect record.
Instead, the Sun Devils find themselves eliminated after one game and with reason to worry about their postseason future following a 97-85 loss to the Colorado Buffaloes at T-Mobile Arena on Wednesday.
Head coach Bobby Hurley’s team awaits its NCAA Tournament fate having dropped five of six with the only win coming against an 8-22 California team.
On Wednesday, stops were hard to come by for either team.
Colorado shot 53 percent from the field and knocked down 62 percent of its three-pointers (13-of-21).
ASU connected on 48 percent of its attempts but struggled at the foul stripe, going 12-of-21, while being outrebounded 39-26. Freshman guard Remy Martin led the Sun Devils with 20 points off the bench, and Tra Holder and Kodi Justice led Arizona State with 14 points apiece.
Holder left in the final seconds after being ejected following a scuffle.
For Colorado, guard McKinley Wright IV led the way with 20 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds — five of his teammates also reached double-figures.
Arizona State started out on a torrid scoring pace, yet the Buffaloes kept pace thanks to 10 first-half points from reserve Lucas Siewert.
Having shot 6-of-14 from deep in the first half, the Sun Devils didn’t record a three-point make in the final seven minutes of the half. In the final two minutes before the break, Colorado closed on an 8-0 run to take a 41-37 lead at halftime as ASU missed four three-point jumpers.
Meanwhile, a Buffaloes team that had only hit 35 percent of its three-point attempts this season was scorching, hitting 53 percent overall and 7-of-11 from three.
Just like the ending of the first half, the Sun Devils finally looked ready to separate midway through the second, taking a 60-56 lead with 12:06 to play. But Colorado responded with a 10-0 spurt that changed the tune of the game, which became ASU’s first double-digit loss of the season.