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Men's Hoops Falls to Colorado in Return

Jan 15, 2022
Ike Diogu had his No. 5 raised into the arena rafters on Saturday night.

The ASU Men's basketball squad came back to action Saturday after 13 days with no games due to COVID protocols and fell to the Colorado Buffaloes 75-57 on Ike Diogu's night at Desert Financial Arena.

The Sun Devils entered the second half down 37-34, giving hope to the local crowd after CU jumped out to a 15-3 lead. However, the good performance by the Buffaloes from the three-point line killed ASU's chances. After a brief exchange of scores by both squads, Colorado would score five straight buckets from behind-the-line, increasing its lead to 11 points.

The visitor squad took advantage of their good performance from three, shooting at .462 in the half, to gain some confidence. That allowed them to put an emphasis on the game with an 8-2 run, and it diminished ASU's game, which experienced a scoring drought of more than four minutes. All of this resulted in a 16-point differential with only 3:30 left leaving little room for a comeback. 

The best minutes for the Sun Devils happened during the first half. ASU proved that they had only played one game in 25 days by starting slow. However, the Devils' top scorer Jalen Graham led ASU to a 12-2 run that made the score 16-15 for the visitors. That was the closest the Sun Devils could get to Colorado. 

Jalen Graham was ASU's top performer in both offense and defense, leading the team in points (16) and rebounds (5), also shooting 6-for-7 from the free throw line. He was joined by sophomore Jay Heath, who notched 15 points. Luther Muhammad was the other Sun Devil with double figures in scoring with 10.

16 vs. Colorado/Jan. 15, 2022
14 vs. Oregon State/Feb. 14, 2021
14 at Arizona/Jan. 25, 2021
12 vs. Stanford/Jan. 30, 2021
12 vs. California/Jan. 28, 2021

Bobby Hurley's squad will be back in Tempe next Monday (Jan. 17), when they face Utah in another Pac-12 contest at 2 p.m. on the Pac-12 Network.

"I would say, not totally unexpected the performance, considering everything. I think the bright spots were that (although) we started slow, they got up on us setting 15-3 and we had a response and made a charge, they had us again at 29-19 I believe and the guys made some plays. We pressed, we got a little energy out of that, and keeping it a one-possession game was good work by us. Jalen Graham I think was a positive, more particularly in the first half, with his production on offense. We need guys that could show signs of scoring the ball, so that was good to see from him off of a one day's practice. Anyway, that's probably the bottom line. In the second half we got really spread out I thought, and we were trying to be more efficient, sustaining gaps on the first half, and we got spread out, and the guards were driving and throwing the ball to wide open shooters, they gained some confidence with that, and as the half progressed we just didn't have another response, we had given up all boards. It got progressively worse, and we started searching, but that's basically it."

"I knew the guys would be enthusiastic to play. I'm extremely happy for Ike and his family to go through that, to have this great honor, it was awesome to honor him, he was such a great player here and a big supporter of the program. Other than that, the guys wanted to play, they were juiced about playing, because it's been so long. We just didn't have a lot of gas in the tank in the second half, and they hit some shots and got some confidence, so then we couldn't cut into the lead again."

On how Jalen Graham was feeling after missing some practices
"(Jalen Graham) was sick for days, and I did a Zoom call with him when I got back to the office. We did a lot of testing with him and everything came back OK, so he felt better or well enough yesterday to practice, and he looked pretty good. When I did our Zoom it was pre-practice, so I didn't know if he was even gonna go at that point, but he did, and looked like that we could bring him in and get him some minutes, but I was trying to be careful not to play him too many. The second half he wasn't nearly as good as he was in the first."

On being back with the team
"It felt great to be back out there, with my teammates, just playing the game, with all the COVID stuff going on. There's a little fatigue, we didn't get a lot of practice, but we gotta play through some of that stuff."

On if the schedule issues affected them
"I mean, no excuses, but when you sit out five days, or a week, and you got to practice only two days, and you gotta wear a mask, it just a little hard, it's different. I would probably attribute some of that for what happened tonight, but we still gotta play hard."

On what the team needs to turn the season around
"I just feel like we need to play more together on offense. That's what comes with being able to practice. We need rebounding too, collecting rebounds, we have to play stronger and take care of the ball."