In the final home game of Josh Scott's Colorado career it was the other Josh wearing a number in the 40's that carried the team. Josh Fortune led the Buffs with 17 points, four assists and three steals.
It was a game of runs, and Arizona State delivered their best shot as they looked to rebound from two consecutive blowouts. They gave the Buffs all they could handle. rebounding from an early first half deficit of 14 points, ASU went on a 20-5 run over the next seven minutes to retake the lead 32-1 for the first time since they led 8-7.
In a fitting start to the game, Josh Scott won his final tip at Coors Events Center. It was another effective game for the big man, who would finish his final night at Coors with 15 points and six rebounds. Arizona State lead the game in the early stages, but never built much of a lead as Colorado was able to retake the lead following the first media timeout of the evening, and that was when the team struck, building to the aforementioned 14 point lead, their largest of the game.
However, the scrappy Sun Devils weren't going away. They used their 48% first half shooting to take advantage of multiple Colorado scoring droughts and clawed back into the game, going into the half down three, 38-35.
The second half was a very similar story to the first, as both teams shot very well and traded runs, however ASU never managed to secure a lead, thanks to the efforts of Josh Fortune.
"One of the things Josh and I talked about was making the game simple; take what they give you. When you're open, shoot it, when you're not, pass it or put it on the floor and attack the basket," Tad Boyle said when asked about Fortune's improved play. "But, don't try to over create; just make the simple play. He's been doing a very good job of that. We want him to shoot when he's open, you talk about an efficient line. That's the Josh Fortune that can really be effective for us as we head down the stretch."
With about 14 minutes to play, the game was knotted up at 45, over the last four minutes, Colorado had surrendered an eight point lead, and it was the opportunity to get back into the lead that the Sun Devils had been waiting for. With nerves running high, Josh Fortune made a big three to give the Buffaloes the lead that they would carry to the final buzzer.
In the final seconds, the four seniors that were honored pre-game all got their fitting ends. Colorado got possession with 25.8 seconds to go and a double digit lead. At Tad Boyle's instruction, Josh Scott called a timeout. Subbing in for the first time were Brett Brady and Eli Stalzer, who replaced Scott and Talton, allowing the two starting seniors to receive the individual ovation they so deserved. Both Brady and Stalzer got their touches as they dribbled the final seconds off the clock as Colorado won 79-69.
"I love this team. I've said it from day one that I love what they're about," Boyle said of his team. "Those four seniors, if there is one they they have in common, it's a high degree of character. They're great kids with high character.
With the win, Colorado (21-9, 10-7) secured their 21st regular season win, which ties the school record. They have a chance to take sole possession of the spot with a win over Utah next Saturday in the final game before the Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas.