Arizona State offense struggles again in return to court as Colorado wins 75-57
In its first game back since Jan. 2 and only its second game played since Dec. 19, Arizona State looked understandably off.
On a night when the Sun Devils honored Ike Diogu and raised his No. 5 jersey to the rafters, Arizona State looked ice-cold offensively and as the game wore on, dead tired defensively. Colorado outscored ASU 38-23 over the final 20 minutes—including a 12-2 spurt to take control of the game midway through the second half—to walk away with a 75-57 win.
For Arizona State, it was a worst-case scenario kind of return to the court. They’d played only one game in nearly a month and saw games postponed and canceled due to arena eletricity outage, COVID-19 issues with opponents, and then a team-wide outbreak of their own.
The Sun Devils went into the game last in the conference in scoring (63.1 points a game), shooting percentage (38.9%), and 3-point shooting (28.2), and the offense looked more of the same. ASU shot 34% for the game and missed 16 of its 21 attempts from beyond the arc.
Colorado raced out to a 15-3 lead, but ASU was able to battle back by attacking the basket. The margin was just three at the halftime break.
But as the second half went and ASU settled too often for isolation looks, the legs went and the defense slipped. ASU had only seven assists on 20 made baskets while CU whipped the ball around (17 assists on 25 made shots).
The Buffs, who saw seven of eight score in the second half, hit six triples in 13 tries and knocked down 10 of their 12 free throws to pull away. ASU couldn’t pull it back. The Sun Devils hit just four shots from the field over the final 12 minutes.
” We didn’t have the urgency we needed defensively to get stops,” ASU head coach Bobby Hurley said after the game. “Mentally, we might have worn down as they were having success. We didn’t handle adversity to lock down. … The second half was a total meltdown on the defensive half of the floor.”
The Sun Devils can be forgiven for looking rusty in a return-to-play after a lengthy absence, but this has been a season-long struggle to score the basketball.
“I haven’t had a team since I’ve been here that’s had this much trouble scoring the ball,” Hurley said.
Colorado had no such problem.
Four Buffaloes scored in double-figures, and two more reached at least eight. Jabari Walker led the way with an 18-point, 13-rebound double-double. Keeshawn Barthelemy added 16 points, nine boards, and four assists. Tristan da Silva and Evan Battey each added 11.
For CU, the record stands at 12-4 now (4-2 Pac-12). It’ll host USC on Thursday, Jan. 20, at 4:30 p.m. PT.
Arizona State (5-9, 1-3 Pac-12) is back in action on Monday when it hosts Utah at 1 p.m. PT.
On the bright side, it was a nice moment for Diogu.
a new legend in the rafters.
congratulations, Ike 5️⃣💛 pic.twitter.com/oOPFP0QGsn
— Sun Devil MBB (@SunDevilHoops) January 16, 2022