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Desert drought over as No. 20 CU Buffs topple Arizona State

Lucas Siewert comes off bench to hit four 3-pointers

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TEMPE, Ariz. — If not for a twist of fate, Lucas Siewert might have been on the other side of the battle, knocking down key 3-pointers for the team in red and gold.

Instead, Siewert is the lone four-year senior for the Colorado Buffaloes, and on Thursday the Buffs certainly were glad he was on their side.

A former ASU commit who eventually landed in Boulder due to the coaching change that brought Bobby Hurley to Tempe, Siewert was able to achieve something no Buffs player has enjoyed since 2012 by winning at Arizona State. The 20th-ranked Buffaloes shook off a slow start offensively and put the clamps down defensively to topple Arizona State 68-61 in a Pac-12 Conference battle at Desert Financial Arena.

On a night that saw No. 8 Oregon lose at Washington State, the Buffs improved to 3-1 in the Pac-12 for their best four-game start in the league since a 3-1 start in the 2013-14 season. CU had lost six consecutive games at ASU, dating back to the team’s first season in the Pac-12 in 2012.

“We know how tough it is to win here. We haven’t won here in I don’t know how many years,” Siewert said. “This is a special win for me as well because I was once committed here. It feels good. It just shows how tough our team is, the mental toughness. We really got stops this game. We know we can get better on offense. But we found a way to win.

“That’s all I was thinking about. I just wanted to get a win, whatever it took. I’m just proud of the team.”

With the Buffs’ offense struggling early, Siewert came off the bench to provide some scoring punch, knocking down his first three 3-pointers to help CU climb out of an early nine-point deficit. The Buffs battled into a 28-28 tie at halftime before taking over in the second half, using an 11-0 run to take the lead for good.

ASU trimmed a 12-point CU lead down to five with 7 minutes, 7 seconds remaining, but Siewert’s fourth and final 3-pointer started a 9-3 burst by the Buffs that essentially put the game away.

“Lucas was huge,” CU point guard McKinley Wright IV said. “He hit some big shots and he’s that confident dude that can really stretch the floor for us. And not just Lucas, but our whole team. They played their butts off. My teammates did a great job of picking me up. I give all the credit to those guys.”

While starters Wright, D’Shawn Schwartz, and Evan Battey struggled to a combined 6-for-26 mark, Siewert (14 points) and Tyler Bey picked up the slack, with Bey finishing with 19 points, eight rebounds, and five assists.

Defensively, the Buffs were on-point throughout the contest, highlighted by Wright’s perimeter work against ASU guard Remy Martin. Martin finished with a game-high 25 points, but he did so while shooting 9-for-23. CU also held the Sun Devils to a 6-for-23 mark (.261) on 3-pointers.

While CU head coach Tad Boyle lamented a poor night on the glass — ASU outrebounded the Buffs 42-40, with a whopping 17 offensive rebounds — the defensive effort is one that will have to be repeated if the Buffs hope to end another losing streak on Saturday at Arizona, where CU is 2-9 all-time with nine consecutive losses.

“The defense was great in the second half. The rebounding part was not there tonight,” Boyle said. “I thought our first-shot defense was as good as it’s been all year. We knew Arizona State, they have some good shooters who aren’t shooting the ball well from three, and we knew that coming into the game. We knew they were capable of getting hot, and the biggest thing with them is Remy Martin. I said it before the game if he gets 20 points, it has to be on 18 or 20 shots. Well, he had 25 tonight, but it took 23 shots to get it. That’s what you have to do with that kid.”

Fast break

What went right: The Buffs held ASU to a .343 shooting percentage with a 6-for-23 mark on 3-pointers.

What went wrong: CU surrendered a season-high 17 offensive rebounds, and ASU’s 42-40 rebounding advantage was just the fifth time in 17 games it has outrebounded the opposition.

Star of the game: Tyler Bey. While Lucas Siewert knocked down big 3-pointers, Bey filled up the stat sheet with 19 points, eight rebounds, five assists, two steals, and two blocked shots.

What’s next: The Buffs have a fairly short turnaround with an early start Saturday afternoon at Arizona (12:30 p.m. MT, FOX).

NO. 20 COLORADO 68, ARIZONA STATE 61
COLORADO (14-3, 3-1)
Wright 4-15 3-6 11, Bey 5-9 8-10 19, Battey 1-6 3-4 5, Schwartz 1-5 0-0 2, Kountz 2-3 2-2 6, Gatling 4-7 0-0 10, Siewert 4-6 2-2 14, Daniels 0-1 0-0 0, Parquet 0-0 1-2 1, Strating 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-52 19-26 68.
ARIZONA ST. (10-7, 1-3)
Martin 9-23 3-5 25, White 9-12 1-1 19, Cherry 1-4 0-1 2, Edwards 3-12 0-0 8, House 0-2 0-0 0, Lawrence 0-3 0-0 0, Verge 2-13 3-4 7, Mitchell 0-1 0-0 0, Graham 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-70 7-11 61.
Halftime-28-28. 3-Point Goals-Colorado 7-18 (Siewert 4-6, Gatling 2-4, Bey 1-1, Daniels 0-1, Kountz 0-1, Wright 0-2, Schwartz 0-3), Arizona St. 6-23 (Martin 4-11, Edwards 2-7, Cherry 0-1, Lawrence 0-1, Mitchell 0-1, Verge 0-2). Fouled Out-Edwards. Rebounds-Colorado 40 (Battey 9), Arizona St. 42 (White 10). Assists-Colorado 13 (Bey 5), Arizona St. 10 (Martin 6). Total Fouls-Colorado 16, Arizona St. 22. A – 9,479.