TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Tra Holder sank a pair of free throws with 1.6 seconds left to give Arizona State a 78-77 victory over Colorado on Thursday night. Holder grabbed the rebound of teammate Torian Graham's missed 3-pointer and was fouled by Derrick White as he threw up a shot.
“I have a whole different feeling in my gut tonight than I did against Utah,” Buffs head coach Tad Boyle told Mark Johnson during his post-game interview on 760 AM. “I thought our guys really fought and battled. We just weren't good enough at the end. They made a big time play on that rebound. I thought we played really good defense on the shot.
“The way this team has rebounded the ball the last seven games, it is probably appropriate we lost that way. We have not been rebounding the ball like Colorado teams are expected to rebound the ball. So that is something we keep talking about, we keep working on, we keep preaching. 11 offensive rebounds [for Arizona State tonight]. You cut that to 10 and you win the game.”
Xavier Johnson scored 13 on 6-of-7 shooting for the Buffaloes but was ejected along with Arizona State's Jethro Tshisumpa after an altercation with 1:27 left in the first half.
“I didn't see it, I'll look at it. But that was a big part of the game, there is no doubt,” Boyle said of the controversial call, which led to Johnson's ejection. “'X.J.' was playing great, to lose him was a big blow. We can't make excuses, we have to overcome that, and I thought we did. But the player they lost and they player we lost, little different deal.”
Graham and Shannon Evans II scored 18 apiece for the Sun Devils (9-7, 2-1 Pac-12). Obinna Oleka added 15 points and 10 rebounds.
White scored 35 points, including a layup that put Colorado (10-5, 0-2) up 77-76 with 25 seconds to play. It was the most points scored by a Buff since Askia Booker put 43 on the board against USC two years ago.
“I was just trying to go out there, take what the defense gives me and be aggressive,” White said while fighting back tears during his post-game interview on 760 AM. “I think we competed hard. We just didn't get enough stops down the stretch to win the game.
“You just have to wash it off in that shower, move on to the next one. We have a great opportunity at Arizona [on Saturday night]. We have to learn from the mistakes here and try to get a tough one on the road.”