Trailing 22-15 with 5:02 left in the first half, Arizona State (19-7, 8-5 Pac-12) went on a 12-2 run to close the first half with a 27-24 advantage over Colorado (17-8, 7-6). For most of the second stanza the Sun Devils were not able to pad their lead, but with 1:19 left in regulation two free throws by Jahii Carson gave the visitors a 54-48 lead.
Ultimately those were the last points ASU scored in the second half, as the Buffaloes tied the score up when Xavier Johnson found himself unguarded in the paint for an uncontested dunk.
What could have been a demoralizing blow for a Sun Devil team trying to gain a precious road split following a disheartening loss to Utah three days earlier, turned into another display of grit by ASU that led to an improbable victory that qualified for the most nerve racking win of the season.
In classic seesaw battle the lead changed five times in the first three minutes of overtime until Carson’s layup with 1:15 left gave ASU a 61-60 lead. Following a missed layup by Spencer Dinwiddie the Sun Devils gained possession with 1:01 left. A missed three-pointer by Gordon and two missed free throws by Carrick Felix seemed to have doomed Arizona State’s chance for a win as Dinwiddie’s jumper went in with seven seconds remaining in overtime.
Head Coach Herb Sendek elected not to call a timeout, as Carson quickly pushed the ball up the court and when he was unable to penetrate the paint he gave the ball up for Gordon who did the honors and secured the win and a season sweep of Colorado with his layup.
Carson paced ASU with 18 points and four assists. Gordon, who for the first time this season wasn’t in the starting five added 14 points off the bench. Jordan Bachynski in one of his stronger games as of late posted 12 points and three blocks. Jonathan Gilling had four steals. Dinwiddie led all players with 24 points.
The Sun Devils committed just nine turnovers and limited the Buffaloes to 35.1% shooting from the field. ASU converted just 10 of 17 free throws with four of those misses coming in overtime. Colorado won 42 of its last 47 home games coming into tonight and had a #18 RPI ranking prior to ASU’s win, giving the Sun Devils a resume building victory as they try to vie for a berth in the NCAA tournament.
Next up for ASU are the last two home games of the season starting with a meeting with Washington State Wednesday evening at 8 pm.