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Recap: Sun Devils Can't Overcome Poor Second Half in Loss To Colorado

The Arizona State Sun Devils couldn't generate much second-half offense in a loss to Colorado at home on Saturday night.
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The Arizona State Sun Devils are still searching for their first win in over a calendar month.

Despite a strong first half, the Sun Devils found themselves on the losing end of things after the halftime buzzer. Arizona State was handed its third conference loss in a 75-57 defeat at the hands of Colorado. 

The Sun Devils also took their second loss in as many contests since Dec. 19.

Arizona State fought and scraped to overcome an early double-digit deficit, but struggled on both ends of the court in the second half. The loss dropped the team to 5-9 (1-3 Pac-12) on the season.

Here's how the action panned out:

First-Half Recap


G DJ Horne 
G Marreon Jackson
G Jay Heath
F Kimani Lawrence
F Alonzo Gaffney

Head coach Bobby Hurley opted for size with the ASU starting lineup. Alonzo Gaffney jumped out with his tall and slender frame. Also drawing another start was Jay Heath, who joined the lineup against Cal.

The lack of game action over the past month was evident for the Sun Devils within the opening minutes. Arizona State shot 1-of-7 from the field and quickly fell into a 10-3 hole. That prompted Hurley to use his first timeout and subbed out all but DJ Horne from the starting group.

While the Sun Devils tumbled into a 15-3 deficit, the substitutions proved to be what the doctor ordered. Behind the duo of Jalen Graham and Luther Muhammad, Arizona State stormed back into the game. The team went on a 12-1 run, spurred by ferocious defense and a fast five points from Muhammad.

That cut the deficit to 16-15 by the midpoint of the first half. What followed was a run by the Buffaloes to regain a double-digit lead at 29-19. Colorado found its stroke with two made 3-point shots, while ASU struggled to find the basket.

Then, it was Graham that stepped up for the Sun Devils. The forward had a crucial offensive board and three-point sequence. That cut the deficit to 29-24 and the crowd's energy echoed that on the court. Enoch Boakye had a foul called on a jolting block, resulting in a wave of boos from those in attendance. 

That spark was enough to push ASU to a 7-0 run as the team trimmed the Colorado lead to 29-28.  Horne delivered in the closing minute with a deep three, but the Buffaloes emerged with a 37-34 lead at halftime.

Graham (11 points) and Muhammad (eight) each had impressive halves for the Sun Devils. They led the way from the scoring column, despite both coming off the bench.

Second-Half Recap

Similar to the opening half, Arizona State came out sluggish to start the second half. That played to the advantage of the Buffaloes as they made two quick 3-point shots to extend the lead to 47-40.

But it didn't stop there for the hot shooting from Colorado as the team nailed two more shots from deep to balloon the lead to 56-45. That forced Hurley to call a timeout with 12:49 remaining as he sensed his team needed to stop and compose itself. 

Coming out of the break, the Buffaloes continued their red-hot shooting. That charge was led by Tristan da Silva, who eventually finished with 11 points.

Despite ASU's best attempts to get baskets to fall, the team turned ice cold from the field. Defensive lapses didn't help as Colorado built its confidence. The Buffaloes jumped out to a 15-point lead on the heels of a 12-2 run.

Fatigue is likely a factor that played into the Sun Devils losing steam at the time they did. They were outscored 38-23 in the second half, a clear indication of how Colorado dominated.

It also showed in the rebounding battle as ASU lost that category by a 46-31 margin with ten by the Buffaloes coming from offensive rebounds. That sealed the deal for the Sun Devils as they fell 75-57.

Arizona State Final Leaders
Scoring: Graham (16)
Rebounds: Graham (5)
Assists: Horne (2)

What's Next

The Sun Devils have a quick turnaround as they return home to face the Utah Utes on Monday. That game was originally scheduled for Jan. 13, but was postponed due to COVID-related concerns. Tipoff is at 2 p.m. Arizona time.