TEMPE, Ariz. — Jabari Walker wasn’t happy about his performance on Thursday at No. 6 Arizona. None of the Colorado Buffaloes were, really.
On Saturday, Walker and the Buffs wasted no time showing their game at Arizona State would be a completely different story. And for the first time this season, the Buffs unpacked their long-range shooting touch from their luggage.
CU played its most complete game away from home this season on Saturday night, salvaging a split of the trip through Arizona with a 75-57 win at Arizona State. It was the Buffs’ second consecutive win at Desert Financial Arena and their fifth consecutive win against the Sun Devils overall.
Walker led the way and set the tone, hitting the game’s first three shots and recording nine of CU’s points in a game-opening 15-3 run en route to his eighth double-double of the season and the 10th of his career.
“Bounce back. That (Arizona) game left a bad taste in all of our mouths,” Walker said. “We had a hard practice (Friday) and our mentality just moving forward was bounce back. We approached it through film, we approached it through shoot-around. You could tell today was going to be the day, and it started from the get-go.”
CU never trailed, jumping to that 15-3 lead out of the gate while ASU missed 10 of its first 11 shots. The Buffs led 37-34 at halftime but steadily pulled away after the break, using a 12-2 run midway through the second half to break the game open.
Walker battled foul trouble two nights earlier against the sixth-ranked Wildcats, eventually finishing 2-for-7 while recording as many turnovers (four) as points. It was a different story against ASU, as Walker went 7-for-14 with 18 points and a career-high-tying 13 rebounds.
Walker, though, certainly wasn’t a one-man show. Point guard Keeshawn Barthelemy turned in a strong all-around game, recording 16 points, a career-high-tying nine rebounds, and four assists with no turnovers. Tristan da Silva and Evan Battey scored 11 points apiece. Off the bench, Nique Clifford and Lawson Lovering combined to grab 13 rebounds, helping CU to a 46-31 rebounding advantage. Freshman KJ Simpson backed his strong showing at Arizona with a 3-for-4 night with nine points, two assists, and two steals.
“In the second half I thought we played with a lot of poise,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “I thought we lost our poise a little bit in the first half. We got sped up. The second half, we had some great offensive possessions. We really guarded, and obviously we rebounded the ball well.”
Not only did CU pick up its first road win of the season, but after entering the game with a .217 mark on 3-pointers in five games away from home, the Buffs hit a season-high total of 3-pointers by going 10-for-25. CU also matched a season-high with 17 assists, as five players recorded at least two.
At times, particularly early, ASU looked every bit like a team playing its first game in 13 days, and just its second game in 26 days. The rust was a bad combination against a CU defense that was sharp the entire 40 minutes, holding the Sun Devils to a 5-for-21 mark from 3-point range and a .339 shooting percentage overall. It was the lowest opponent shooting percentage in CU’s six Pac-12 games.
“That loss at Arizona really hurt, and that was a gut check for us,” Barthelemy said. “We had to come out here and be disciplined, because we knew if we were the most disciplined team, everything would take care of itself. That’s what we did tonight. We locked in to every matchup we had, and I feel like holding a team to 57 at home is pretty solid defensively.”
What went right: CU hit a season-high 10 3-pointers, held ASU to an overall field goal percentage of .339, and outrebounded the Sun Devils 46-31.
What went wrong: Very little, but if we have to cite something, the Buffs’ 15-for-22 night at the free throw line was slightly below par.
Star of the game: Jabari Walker. The sophomore forward bounced back from a rough night at No. 6 Arizona to post his eighth double-double of the season, finishing with 18 points and a career-high-tying 13 rebounds.
What’s next: The Buffs host the two ranked teams from Los Angeles, beginning with a Thursday date against USC (5:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network).
Colorado 75, Arizona St. 57
COLORADO (12-4, 4-2 Pac-12)
Battey 5-9 0-0 11, Walker 7-14 2-2 18, da Silva 4-9 0-0 11, Barthelemy 4-9 6-9 16, Parquet 0-4 0-0 0, Clifford 2-5 3-4 8, Simpson 3-4 2-2 9, Lovering 0-2 0-3 0, O’Brien 0-1 2-2 2, Hammond 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 25-58 15-22 75.
ARIZONA ST. (5-9, 1-3 Pac-12)
Lawrence 1-8 0-0 2, Gaffney 0-4 0-0 0, Heath 4-7 4-4 15, Horne 4-11 0-0 9, Jackson 1-4 1-2 3, Muhammad 4-11 1-2 10, Graham 5-11 6-7 16, Boakye 1-1 0-0 2, Neal 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 20-59 12-15 57.
Halftime – Colorado 37-34. 3-point field goals – Colorado 10-25 (da Silva 3-5, Barthelemy 2-5, Walker 2-5, Battey 1-2, Clifford 1-2, Simpson 1-2, Hammond 0-1, Parquet 0-3), Arizona St. 5-21 (Heath 3-5, Muhammad 1-2, Horne 1-5, Graham 0-1, Lawrence 0-1, Neal 0-1, Gaffney 0-3, Jackson 0-3). Rebounds – Colorado 46 (Walker 13), Arizona St. 31 (Graham 5). Assists – Colorado 17 (Barthelemy 4), Arizona St. 7 (Horne 2). Total Fouls – Colorado 16, Arizona St. 19. A – 7,548.