After earning a victory that was much too close for comfort, Arizona State will open its final home weekend of the season with a Pac-12 game against Colorado on Thursday at Tempe, Ariz.
The Sun Devils knocked off host Cal 70-62 on Saturday but needed overtime to clip the last-place team in the conference after shooting just 20.6 percent from the field in the second half. Arizona State (18-8, 9-6 Pac-12) redeemed itself by going 5 of 6 (83.3 percent) from the field in the extra period.
Despite earning the sweep of the Bay Area schools last week, after a 69-65 victory at Stanford last Thursday, the Sun Devils still have lost five of their past eight.
Desmond Cambridge Jr. scored 24 points for Arizona State against Cal, while all the missed shots on the offensive end allowed the Sun Devils to grab 56 total rebounds, the first time they have reached the 50-mark in conference play since 1996. They had 20 offensive rebounds.
“We just have to work on converting (on offense),” Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley said. “We missed way too many layups in the second half, so that was kind of a negative. But the guys battled and fought.”
The effort on the boards came without leading rebounder Warren Washington, who was out for a second consecutive game because of COVID-19 concerns.
Consecutive home games against Colorado and Utah will come before a daunting close to the regular season with games at No. 8 Arizona, No. 4 UCLA and Southern California.
The Buffaloes (14-12, 6-9) have won just three of their past nine and enter off a 73-62 defeat at Utah in their only game last week. KJ Simpson scored 14 points for Colorado, which shot 37.1 percent from the field and was outrebounded 41-29.
The visit to the desert comes as Colorado has just one victory in nine road games this season.
“They were the better team, they were the tougher team and that’s a little bit disheartening as you come into a game like this with a little bit of momentum,” Buffaloes head coach Tad Boyle said. “We just can’t get over the hump on the road because our defense isn’t good enough.”
Simpson leads Colorado at 16.2 points per game, while Cambridge leads Arizona State at 13.7.
–Field Level Media