Booker leads Colorado past ASU 61-52

Associated Press  |  Last updated February 20, 2014
Askia Booker scored all but two of his 18 points during a second-half charge that carried Colorado past Arizona State 61-52 Wednesday night in a game dominated by defense. Josh Scott added 13 points and 13 rebounds for Colorado (20-7, 9-5 Pac-12), which reached the 20-win mark for the fourth straight season under coach Tad Boyle, something that had been done just four times in the 109 years before his arrival. Arizona State (19-7, 8-5) was coming off its biggest home win in school history, a 69-66 double-overtime thriller against then-No. 2 Arizona on Friday night, but the Sun Devils never got into a good rhythm against the Buffaloes. Colorado improved to 6-5 since losing star point guard and leading scorer Spencer Dinwiddie to a torn ACL in a game at Washington on Jan. 12, and the Buffs' second straight 20-win season improved their NCAA tournament profile, although Boyle insists that's not on their minds. Jahii Carson led Arizona State with 18 points, including a pair of free throws on a phantom foul with 1:26 left that pulled the Sun Devils to 53-50. Replays showed Xavier Talton, who was whistled for the foul, didn't touch Carson on the play. Xavier Johnson scored at the other end to make it a 5-point game with a minute remaining, and the Buffs sealed this one at the foul line with Booker going 6 for 6 from the stripe over the final 39 seconds. The Buffaloes took a 27-26 halftime lead after a scrappy first 20 minutes that included 18 personal fouls and a dozen turnovers, but Colorado came out cold after the break and fell behind 32-27. The Buffs didn't score until Booker's reverse layup at the 15:52 mark, but two more drives by Booker and Colorado was up 33-32. Then, his assist on Scott's slam capped an 8-0 run. Booker's two free throws coming out of a timeout with 7:39 left gave Colorado a 43-36 lead, and Wesley Gordon's tip-in seconds later made it a 9-point game. Reserve sharp-shooter Jonathan Gilling, who averages 6.8 points, responded with two 3-pointers to tighten things up once again at 45-42. After Scott's bucket at the other end, Gilling stepped back for a 3 from the right corner to pull the Sun Devils to 47-45. Arizona State beat Colorado 72-51 in Tempe, Ariz., on Jan. 25. --- Follow AP Sports Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton
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