ROCK — Colorado melted a 15-point halftime lead in Thursday’s second half, and the Buffaloes dropped a 60-59 decision against Arizona State at the CU Events Center.
Colorado fell to 4-4 overall and 0-1 in the Pac-12 game while the Sun Devils improved to 7-1, 1-0.
Colorado led 38-23 at halftime and still had a double-digit cushion with less than eight minutes to play. But the buffs went cold on the offensive end and committed some critical turnovers to allow ASU to forge its comeback.
CU still had a two-point lead with less than a minute to play but missed a shot on the bucket, flipped the ball on another possession and missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw with 12 seconds Head Start.
That was enough time for Devan Cambridge to hit the game-winning 3-pointer for ASU with 2.9 seconds remaining in the game.
HOW IT HAPPENED: The Buffs led by 15, 38-23 at halftime. But they couldn’t knock out the Sun Devils as ASU reduced the deficit to 47-37 with 11:43 still to play, thanks in part to five turnovers from Colorado.
ASU continued its comeback after a timeout, eventually cutting Colorado’s lead to six, 48-42. The Buffs committed six turnovers in 5:31 to help the Sun Devils make their comeback. After the sixth of those errors resulted in an ASU breakaway dunk, Boyle called a time-out.
The break helped. CU ended a six-minute scoring drought with one Tristan da Silva layup, then added a Ethan Wright 3-pointers – and it was ASU’s turn to call timeout, with Colorado holding a 53-42 lead.
CU then briefly extended their lead to 12 before the Sun Devils put together a 7-0 run. Alonzo Gaffney hit a 3-pointer and DJ Horne hit inside and with 4:13 remaining, CU’s cushion was shrunk to 56-51.
A timeout couldn’t stop the Sun Devils. Desmond Cambridge hit a 3-pointer and his brother Devan blew another to put ASU’s run at 13-0. With 2:34 remaining, the Sun Devils were leading 57:56.
But after another timeout, the buff finally ended a four-minute goal drought Jalen Gabbidon hit three free throws to help Colorado regain the lead, 59-57.
The two teams then traded empty possessions before Colorado made another turnover with 29 seconds remaining.
ASU then had two shots to the rim but missed both and da Silva got away with a critical blocked shot. KJ Simpson was then immediately fouled – but he missed the front end of a one-and-one with 12 seconds left.
Arizona State’s Devan Cambridge then blew a long 3-pointer to give ASU a 60-59 lead with 2.9 ticks on the clock.
CU had another chance with the ball, but a Simpson 3 pointer on the buzzer missed and the Sun Devils walked away with the win.
Colorado started slow, committing four turnovers in the first three minutes, resulting in an 8-6 ASU lead.
But the buffs quickly found their rhythm on offense and increased the pressure on defense. Colorado used an 8-0 run to take a 14-8 lead and then extended the lead to 24-13. KJ Simpson, Luke O’Brien and Julian Hammond III all had 3-pointers in the rise.
The Sun Devils, meanwhile, opted to shoot from long range – and came up empty. ASU missed all 13 of its 3-point attempts in the first half while the Buffaloes hit six of their 13 attempts.
Colorado continued to extend their lead in the final minutes of the first half. A J’Vonne Hadley Bucket at the 3:19 mark pushed CU’s lead to 29-17 before Javon Ruffin increased the lead to 13 with a 3-pointer a minute later.
CU finally extended its biggest lead of the half with 27 seconds remaining when Simpson drove the baseline for a basket to send the Buffs into the break with a 38-23 lead.
NEXT: The Buffs play their second conference game of the year Sunday when they play Washington at 1 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks). After that, CU wraps up the nonconference portion of its schedule with four more games, beginning with a Dec. 8 home game against Colorado State (7 p.m. ESPN2).
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