While it was a better performance than their showing in Salt Lake City Thursday night, Colorado was still too much to overcome for the Sun Devils 15-14 (7-9) Sunday night in Boulder where they fell 87-81 to the Buffaloes.
Foul trouble hit ASU early and often. Savon Goodman and Eric Jacobsen both picked up two fouls in the first 10 minutes and played with at least three fouls for most of the second half. Gerry Blakes played most of the second half with four fouls as well. Both teams were in the double bonus with just under nine minutes left in the game. Jacobsen eventually fouled out while Goodman, Blakes and Tra Holder all finished with four fouls.
Tempers flared in a first half full of runs. ASU scored a quick six points but Colorado came back with eight straight points. Another set of runs took place near the end of the half. Colorado took a 36-27 lead with just 2:45 to play in the first frame but the Sun Devils responded with three straight three pointers to start a 13-4 run headed into halftime.
The second half took a much different tone with both teams trading buckets. While Colorado stretched the lead to nine points at 51-40 with 15:24 to play, ASU quickly closed the gap. The Sun Devils even took a 72-70 lead with 4:42 to play. The nail in the coffin was a tip in off a missed free throw by Colorado 6-foot-10 junior forward Josh Scott with just 15 seconds remaining to expand the Buffaloes lead to five points.
ASU shot 48 percent from the field, but Colorado was an impressive 29 of 49 (59 percent). Free throw shooting also made a difference. The Sun Devils made just 25 of 39 from the charity stripe (64 percent). The maroon and gold also had 12 turnovers, but competed hard on the boards.
Shaquielle McKissic led ASU with 18 points, Tra Holder had 14 while Goodman and Jacobsen each finished with 12 points and 7 rebounds. Colorado's senior guard Askia Booker finished with 29 points on 9 of 16 shooting and made 10 of 11 from the charity stripe on senior night.
A loss to Colorado is definitely a tough asterisk to take on their NIT resume. ASU can now only finish conference play with a .500 record assuming they finish the season with two wins.
.ASU now comes home for their final series of the regular season at Wells Fargo Arena against the Bay Area schools. They're back at it Thursday night with a 9 p.m. tip off against Stanford on Fox Sports 1.