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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 16, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Coors Events Center (11,064) -- Boulder, Colorado. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: ASU 14-3, Colorado 10-1. Away Record: ASU 3-3, Colorado 4-6. Neutral Record: ASU 1-1, Colorado 3-0. Conference Record: ASU 7-5, Colorado 7-5. Series Record: Colorado leads, 4-3.
GAMES NOTES: Riding a wave of momentum back into contention, the Colorado Buffaloes will hook up with the Arizona State Sun Devils in a critical Pac-12 Conference bout at the Coors Events Center on Saturday.
A team that looked certain to be among the league leaders in the Pac-12 just a few weeks ago, Arizona State has begun to slip with losses in three of its last four games. The Sun Devils still own a strong 18-7 record overall and are separated by just two games from conference leading Oregon in the Pac-12 standings. However if they can't right the ship quickly the promising start to the season might be wasted.
After struggling in league play at the start of its conference schedule, Colorado has risen from the dead with wins in six of its last seven contests. That included a 71-58 victory over No. 9 Arizona that featured a huge helping of revenge for the Buffaloes who lost in controversial fashion to the Wildcats earlier in the season. Colorado is now 17-7 and tied with Arizona State, California and USC in the crowded Pac-12 standings.
Arizona State traveled to Salt Lake City to face Utah last time out and came out on the short end of a 60-55 decision. The Sun Devils shot just 40 percent from the field in the contest and got outscored 17-4 from the free-throw line while missing six attempts from the stripe.
Super freshman Jahii Carson (17.6 ppg, 5.0 apg) has seen some regression during the recent losing stretch for the Sun Devils. Carson is still scoring in double figures in the last three games but has scored below his season average in each contest while managing just eight assists combined. Carrick Felix (14.4 ppg, 8.1 rpg) has played well win or lose and has posted a double- double in each of the last two games. Evan Gordon (11.1 ppg) hasn't been needed to be a big-time scorer but will need to improve on his shot selection going forward. Time was when Jordan Bachynski (9.4 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 3.8 bpg) looked like one of the best centers in the country however he is averaging just five points and 3.8 rebounds over the last five games.
Colorado shot 50 percent from the field and knocked down 9-of-17 shots from 3-point distance to cruise past Arizona. Spencer Dinwiddie scored 21 points and handed out seven assists while Xavier Johnson had 19 points and nine rebounds while hitting 4-of-5 shots from beyond the arc.
Dinwiddie (15.0 ppg, 3.0 apg) has thrown the Buffaloes on his back recently. The 6-foot-5 guard has scored at least 18 points in three of the last four games. During that stretch he has also managed at least four assists a game while going 19-of-20 from the free-throw line. That has helped ease the pain of struggling Askia Booker (13.4 ppg), who before a 10-point effort against Arizona had failed to score in double figures in three straight games. Booker desperately needs to find his rhythm as he has shot less than 25 percent in three of the last four outings. Andre Roberson (10.4 ppg, 11.7) has been the picture of consistency for the Buffaloes and leads the Pac-12 in rebounding while Josh Scott (11.9) and Johnson (8.2 ppg) add depth.
Momentum has swung severely in favor of Colorado. Expect the Buffaloes to continue to make a late run with an important win over the struggling Sun Devils.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Colorado 70, Arizona State 64
02/16 10:31:25 ET
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