The Arizona State Sun Devils rallied from an early 20-7 deficit to defeat the Colorado Buffaloes 65-56 at Wells Fargo Arena Sunday night. Arizona State could not find an offensive rhythm early, and the defending conference champion Buffaloes opened up a 13-2 early lead. However, head coach Herb Sendek and his team did not panic.
"We made mention of the fact that it was early, there was a lot of time left," said Sendek about his team's slow start.
The Sun Devils came out ice cold from the field, starting 2-12 and 0-6 from beyond the arc. Arizona State trailed 17-4 before Bo Barnes came off the bench and sank a three to start the Sun Devil rally.
"We were down by so much in the first half, we just knew we needed to stay calm and composed," said senior forward Carrick Felix. "Every time out and every huddle, we talked about chipping away, one possession at a time."
ASU cut the lead to 22-16 with 6:30 left in the first half and went into the half down just three points. The Sun Devils ended the half shooting 9-12 from the field and 3-4 from three point territory.
"It really took some positive contributions from a lot different guys," said Sendek. "Bo Barnes comes in and hits a big three, Eric Jacobsen takes a charge, Ruslan (Pateev) gives us some good minutes, so just a good team effort on a lot of fronts."
Colorado shot just 26% from the field in the second half, and the Buffs were an abismal 1-12 from three points land. The Buffaloes were just 2-19 from three in the game, and the Sun Devils outscored Colorado 35-23 in the second half, leading by as many as 12 points.
"The second half defensively was the best we have played all year," said Felix, who scored a team-high 20 points against Colorado. "We were able to buckle down on our assignments, we really nipped it in the butt."
"JB (Jordan Bachynski) did a really good job protecting the basket," said Felix. "He's a huge factor on defense."
Chris Colvin came off the bench and had another solid game, playing 31 minutes. The Sun Devil sixth man scored nine points with four rebounds and five assists.
"Chris Colvin was a big energy spark for us, he is definitely the X-factor for our team," said Felix.
The Sun Devils travel to play the Oregon schools in the Northwest next week before hosting Arizona on January 19th. ASU is 2-0 after it's first two conference games for the first time since the 2007-2008 season and just the fourth time over the last 35 years.