Arizona State aims to end funk during visit to Colorado

League: NCAA Basketball

Posted on: 08 Feb, 2024 at 03:50 AM

Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona State is in a tailspin and can't afford to slip any further in the Pac-12 standings. Colorado is trying to avoid the Sun Devils' plight.

Arizona State has dropped four in a row, most recently an 81-66 home loss to Cal on Saturday, and now faces a tough task in playing the Buffaloes in Boulder, Colo., on Thursday night.

The Sun Devils (11-11, 5-6 Pac-12) beat Colorado in Tempe, Ariz., last month, and a sweep of the two games would help the struggling program. Arizona State faltered in the second half of losses to Stanford and Cal last week. The defeat to the Cardinal came after a strong start.

Jose Perez, one of the offensive catalysts for the Sun Devils, was benched for the second half against Cal for a "minor incident" before halftime, according to coach Bobby Hurley, who added that the issue is behind the team.

The losing streak is not.

"It's not unusual for a team to go through a stretch like this," Hurley said. "We have to stop the bleeding."

Colorado (15-7, 6-5) is in danger of falling into a similar slide after losing road games to Washington State, 78-69, and Utah, 73-68, over the past two Saturdays. The Buffaloes can hardly afford to overlook the Thursday game with a Saturday matchup against No. 8 Arizona looming.

It would help Colorado if dynamic freshman Cody Williams can return. Williams has missed nine games this season, including seven in a row in December and January. He didn't play in the loss to the Utes but could return Thursday.

Luke O'Brien, who also sat out Saturday after sustaining an injury in practice, is questionable to play against Arizona State.

"We'll see. I'm encouraged with Cody, even though he didn't practice (Monday)," coach Tad Boyle said. "I don't know about Luke right now."

The Buffaloes will look for a boost from their fans. Colorado is 12-0 at home this season and has a chance to pad its NCAA Tournament resume and move up in the Pac-12 standings with a sweep this weekend.

--Field Level Media