(Photo: Scotty Bara/WCSN)
Despite hanging in for nearly the entire game, Arizona State fell to Colorado 79-69 in its final road game of the regular season. Senior center Eric Jacobsen had 14 points and nine rebounds for the Sun Devils, and redshirt junior guard Josh Fortune had 17 for the Buffaloes.
ASU junior forward Obinna Oleka and sophomore guard Kodi Justice hit two threes to get out to an 8-7 lead by the first media timeout with 15:48 remaining in the first half. ASU didn’t make a three against Utah four days earlier until their first field goal attempt of the second half.
After making three shots in a row, Colorado took a lead of their own thanks to two threes from junior guard Tre’Shaun Fletcher. The 18-11 lead would soon be built upon after a two-handed dunk by senior forward Josh Scott in transition and another three from Fletcher to make it 23-12 Colorado.
An 8-0 Colorado run was put to a halt thanks to a three from ASU senior guard Gerry Blakes. A few possessions later, Blakes hit another three from the corner and the Buffaloes led 30-22 with 7:25 remaining in the first half.
Colorado missed six shots in a row and the Sun Devils brought it to within four with 4:30 remaining in the half following a layup from sophomore guard Tra Holder. The Sun Devils took the lead after five straight points from Blakes including his third three-pointer of the half.
CU led at halftime 38-35 after ASU junior forward Savon Goodman got an offensive rebounding in the final seconds and finished in the paint. Blakes led all scorers at half with 15 points.
Coming out of the gates to start the second half, the Buffaloes made two quick threes and held a 44-37 lead. Holder made a three of his own a few possessions later, and with 17 minutes remaining, ASU was down 45-41.
At the 14:41 mark, Holder drove the lane and got a Colorado defender to jump at a ball fake, then made a layup while falling to the ground and drawing a foul. After missing the free throw, the Sun Devils had the game tied at 45 until Colorado redshirt junior guard Josh Fortune ended a drought in which Colorado missed five shots in a row by making two threes.
After making five of six shot attempts, the Buffaloes led with six minutes remaining by five.
Despite trailing by six with three minutes left, near-perfect free throw shooting down the stretch for Colorado cemented the victory on their senior night.
Player of the Game: Gerry Blakes
While almost everyone else had a sub-par first half, Blakes was on fire in the opening period. His fantastic three-point shooting helped bring ASU back when they were down by as many as 14 points in the first. He finished with 15 points.
Biggest Concern: Free throw shooting
The Sun Devils got back to their old ways from the charity stripe, and as it always has, it let them down in a close game. ASU shot 61 percent from the free throw line and missed nine attempts, and only ended up losing by 10 points.
Stat of the Night: Turnovers
ASU had maybe their cleanest game of the year in terms of taking care of the ball, only turning the ball over seven times.
Unsung Hero: Eric Jacobsen
Jacobsen, despite facing one of his toughest matchups of the year, had one of his best games. He finished with 14 points and nine rebounds, and was a big factor in limiting Scott to six rebounds.
ASU will play Stanford on March 3 in Tempe for the first of its final two home games.