Sun Devils Snap Skid, Top Buffaloes


It wasn’t pretty at times, but as the old saying goes, a win is a win.

That’s exactly was the case in the Sun Devils 78-72 victory over the Colorado Buffaloes on Saturday afternoon from Wells Fargo Arena. It definitely won’t go in Sun Devils lore, but it was a much-needed win as it gave ASU their first Pac-12 victory of the season and even their record up at 9-9.

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This game looked like it was going to be another low scoring affair. There was only 57 points scored between the two teams in the first 20 minutes, but the second half was a much different story as both squads were able to drastically improve their shooting.

Late in the second half, ASU was up seven with under a minute to play. Colorado was able to make it interesting and drew it within three points thanks to their three-point shooting, but the Sun Devils were able to hit enough free throws down the stretch to earn the W.

In what has been a common theme of their victories this season, the Devils were able to get a balanced attack on the offensive end. Five different players were in double figures. Senior forward Shaquielle McKissic led the way for the home team with 16 points to go along with six rebounds and three assists.

After their brief two-game homestand, the Devils will head back on the road, this time to Bay Area. They’ll play Cal on Thursday night before finishing up their road trip at Stanford on Saturday night.

The Good

There were a lot of positives to take away from this one.

First off, clearly McKissic was the player of the game for the Devils. Not only was he ASU’s leading scorer, but he also did a nice job on the defensive end. It would just be nice if he was a tad more consistent in the final couple months of his career in Tempe.

ASU did a good job with their ball movement as well as the team totaled 20 assists, four more than what Colorado had. Tra Holder and Jonathan Gilling totaled 12 assists while having only four turnovers between the two of them. Job well done on that front.

The bench was a big part of this win as well. ASU’s bench was able to outscore Colorado’s unit, 23-10. Bo Barnes led the group with 13 points, which included going 4-of-6 from three-point land.

Speaking of that, when you shoot 55 percent from the field, it’s extremely difficult to lose. The Sun Devils also shot 50 percent from the behind the arc. If they continue shooting at that clip, there will be more victories on the horizon.

The Bad

This team just snapped a four-game losing streak, so I’m not going to nitpick too much.

You still have to be a bit concerned about this team’s rebounding. They were out-rebounded by a 33-28 margin and allowed nine offensive boards. Usually the better rebounding team wins, so luckily the Sun Devils broke that notion.

It would have been nice to see the Devils do a little better job on Jaron Hopkins. Hopkins must have liked returning to Arizona where he played high school ball as he had a career-high 20 points to go along with seven rebounds and five assists. Fortunately, the sophomore only shot the ball 11 times.

This win won’t mean a whole heck of a lot if this team goes out and lays an egg in the Bay Area next week. Hopefully this is a win that this team can build on going forward.