Askia Booker's senior night provided CU fans with one last ride on the roller coaster that has been the four-year experience of watching the talented guard out of Los Angeles compete in the black and gold. Complete with highs (Coors Events Center career-high 29 points) and lows (a technical foul), Booker's Buffs appropriately pulled out a close contest against ASU, winning 87-81.
"You can thank (ASU guard) Gerry Blakes for that performance," said Booker. "He started running his mouth about an hour before the game. I took it real personally."
At the 15:17 mark of the first half, Booker nailed a three in the left corner along the ASU bench. Booker turned and fired some choice words, drawing the ire of Sun Devils' head coach Herb Sendek. 15 seconds later, Booker was whistled for a technical foul, earning Booker a place on the bench.
While Sunday night belonged to Booker, Dustin Thomas turned in one of the finest performances of his young career. Thomas went 5-of-5 from the field and 2-of-2 from the charity stripe for a ridiculously efficient 12 points.
CU was able to distance themselves a little bit in the first half, grabbing a nine-point lead. But the Buffs left Shaquille McKissic and Jonathan Gilling open from three, allowing ASU to knot the contest in the span of just one minute. Two Tra Holder free throws later, the Sun Devils had reclaimed the lead at 38-36.
Tad Boyle called timeout with just over a minute to go. Booker got to the line, CU got a stop, and Booker drove the lane and scored with two seconds left, giving CU a 40-38 halftime advantage.
Colorado built two more nine-point leads in the second half, and lost both. With 4:42 left, Bo Barnes stuck a three, giving ASU a 72-70 lead. Josh Scott grabbed it right back with an old-fashioned three-point play.
Scott had an excellent performance by any standard Sunday night. His 14 point, six board effort becomes even more impressive considering the pain Scott is playing through. He delivered what was likely the play of the game, a put-back off a missed Tre'Shaun Fletcher free throw, sealing the deal for Colorado.
Boyle was able to sub in senior walk-on Geoff Bates for Booker with 0.5 seconds left, earning Booker one last Coors Events Center standing ovation.
Colorado heads to Washington later this week to wrap up the regular season.