Buffs Get Pac-12 Road Win At Arizona State
TEMPE, Ariz. — Colorado broke open a tight game with a second-half barrage of 3-pointers and stellar defense and Jabari Walker notched his eighth double-double of the season Saturday to lift the Buffaloes to a 75-57 win over Arizona State at Desert Financial Arena.
The win gave Tad Boyle's Buffs a split of their road trip to the desert, as they improved to 12-4 overall and 4-2 in Pac-12 play. Bobby Hurley's Sun Devils, who were playing just their second game in 26 days, fell to 5-9, 1-3.
Colorado jumped out to a big lead early, taking a 15-3 edge six minutes in before the Sun Devils battled back to close the gap to three by halftime, 37-34. But the Buffs regained command for good by hitting five 3-pointers in the first seven minutes of the second half to rebuild their lead to double digits and ASU never threatened again.
Walker finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds for the 10th double-double of his career. Guard Keeshawn Barthelemy just missed a double-double, finishing with 16 points and nine rebounds, and Evan Battey and Tristan da Silva each scored 11. Nique Clifford added eight points and seven rebounds off the bench.
Jalen Graham led ASU with 16 points.
The Buffs held ASU to just 34 percent shooting (20-for-59), including a 9-for-29 effort in the second half. Colorado shot 43 percent for the game (25-for-58), including 10-for-25 from beyond the arc, and also held a dominating 46-31 edge on the boards.
Colorado also finished with 17 assists on its 25 baskets.
"Our guys really responded to the whooping we took in Tucson (a 76-55 loss on Thursday)," Boyle said. "We took a big step forward, especially in the second half, on both offense and defense."
HOW IT HAPPENED: After taking a three-point lead into intermission, the Buffs took control early in the second half with five 3-pointers in the first seven minutes. Walker, da Silva, Nique Clifford, Battey and K.J. Simpson each drained bombs as Colorado pushed its lead to 56-45 with 12:49 remaining.
CU then methodically built its lead to as much as 18 and the Sun Devils never challenged again. The Buffs held ASU scoreless over a four minute stretch in the final minutes to put the game away, as Arizona State scored just five points in the final eight minutes.
The Buffs received key contributions from a number of players at critical junctures all night.
Defensively, CU's Elijah Parquet held ASU leading scorer DJ Horne to just nine points on 4-for-11 shooting. Clifford came off the bench to post a solid defensive effort along with a 3-pointer and blocked shot in Colorado's decisive second-half run, Walker was a rebounding machine and Barthelemy, Battey and da Silva all had key baskets.
"Our young guys are growing up," Boyle said. "They're still growing, they're still learning. We knew that this year would have some ups and downs. I know we're not a veteran team, but our young guys are learning and they're learning quick. It was a really good team team effort."
Colorado threatened to blow the game open early, jumping out to a 15-3 lead in the first six minutes. Walker, coming off a season-low four points in Thursday's loss to Arizona, hit CU's first three shots and assisted on the next two while ASU hit just one of its first 11 shots.
But the Buffs went cold and ASU chipped away at the lead, using a 12-1 run to cut Colorado's lead to 16-15 midway through the half.
The Buffs momentarily regrouped and rebuilt their lead to 10 on a Keeshawn Barthelemy 3-pointer and five straight points from da Silva gave CU a 29-19 cushion.
But Arizona State rallied again, using a 9-0 run to cut CU's lead to one before the Buffs pushed their edge back to three, 37-34, at halftime.
TURNING POINT: CU led by just five, 47-42, with 14:27 to play, but then drained 3-pointers on three straight possessions to take control.
WHAT IT MEANS: The Buffs earned a critical road trip split in Pac-12 play.
KEY STATISTICS: CU held the Sun Devils to 31 percent shooting in the second half (9-for-29) and limited ASU to just 12 points in the final 13 minutes of the game … Colorado held a dominant 46-31 edge on the boards … The Buffs had 17 assists on 25 made baskets … The Buffs shot 22 free throws, a good number for a road game.
NEXT UP: The Buffs return home next week for two games against a pair of top-10 teams, beginning with a 5:30 p.m. game Thursday against No. 5 USC at the CU Events Center. The Buffs then host No. 3 UCLA on Saturday at 7 p.m. Both games will be televised by the Pac-12 Networks.