After trailing at the half by one point, Colorado allowed Arizona State to shoot 71% from the floor in the second half, falling to the Sun Devils 78-72.
"There's no reason why we shouldn't and couldn't have won this basketball game," Tad Boyle told AM-850. "It's always something, and tonight it was our defense in the second half, it let us down. They shoot 71 percent in the second half, it's amazing we were in the game."
The game's deciding stretch came following the second-to-last media timeout at the 7:02 mark. Wesley Gordon went the line, where he hit one-of-two to tie the game at 51. Arizona State responded by hitting each of the next four field goals it took, all three-pointers, to take a 65-60 lead with 5:08 to play.
A Shaquielle McKissic layup and three Tra Holder free throws extended the ASU lead to 70-60 with 1:14 left in the game. Colorado caught fire from beyond the arc with in the final minute, with threes from Jaron Hopkins (2), Askia Booker, and Tre'Shaun Fletcher. But the Buffs were never able to get closer than within three points in the final minute.
Shorthanded once again without Josh Scott and Xavier Johnson, Colorado needed its underclassmen to step up. Hopkins (20) and Fletcher (10) each had career-highs in points. Booker led the Buffs once again with 21 points. Gordon added 10 points and eight rebounds, staying out of foul trouble.
"We're making great strides (offensively), I've seen it in practice, we've gotten better," said Boyle. "I thought our offense was good tonight, we shot a little over 46 percent - we'll take that. 10-for-21 from three - we'll take that."
Colorado returns home after going 0-3 on their Utah-Arizona road trip. CU will take on Washington on Thursday night, and Washington State on Saturday night.