LAS VEGAS – McKinley Wright IV had 20 points and 11 assists, and Colorado put a dent in Arizona State’s NCAA Tournament hopes with a 97-85 victory over the Sun Devils in the opening round of the Pac-12 tournament on Wednesday.
Colorado (17-14) made 13 of 21 from 3-point range and took control of a close game with a 15-1 run midway through the second half.
The Buffaloes shot 54 percent overall and made 18 of 20 free throws to earn a spot in Thursday’s quarterfinals against No. 15 Arizona.
Wright also had eight rebounds and Dominque Collier had 17 points for Colorado.
Arizona State (20-11) had a pair of long stretches without a field goal in the second half and went 12 for 21 from the free-throw line to lose a game it needed to win.
Remy Martin had 20 points to lead the Sun Devils, who may have an anxious Selection Sunday after being ousted so early in the Pac-12 Tournament.
Arizona State came to Vegas still in decent NCAA Tournament shape. The Sun Devils went undefeated in nonconference (12-0), with resume-boosting wins at Kansas and neutral site over Xavier.
But Arizona State labored through the Pac-12 season to finish tied for eighth with Colorado, so a first-round tournament loss would make the Sun Devils sweat a little on Selection Sunday.
Arizona State and Colorado split the regular-season series. The Buffaloes had a 90-81 overtime win in Boulder and the Sun Devils won 80-66 in Tempe.
Round three was a 3-point shooting contest in the first half.
Colorado made 7 of 11 from behind the arc and closed with an 8-0 run to lead 41-37. Arizona State hit 6 of 14.
Colorado kept making 3s, hitting five of its first six, and went on a 15-1 run to go up 71-61. The Buffaloes kept hitting shots and scoreless stretches kept the Sun Devils from making up ground.
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