The Arizona State men’s basketball team battled from a 17-point deficit to tie the game in the second half but fell to Colorado 81-71 in the season opener Saturday morning in Shanghai, China.
The game was part of the Pac-12’s global initiative with China. ASU and Colorado are the fifth and sixth Pac-12 teams to make the trip and play in China, which has hosted a game involving a Pac-12 team each of the past five years dating back to a 2015 game featuring Washington.
Junior point guard Remy Martin led all scorers with 23 points. He also had nine rebounds, eight assists and three steals. Senior guard Rob Edwards, fully recovered from a back problem that slowed him last season, added 20. Junior forward Kimani Lawrence chipped in with 10 points and six rebounds before fouling out with 1:47 left.
Colorado was led by point guard McKinley Wright with 17 points. Tyler Bey and D’Shawn Schwartz added 15 each for the Buffaloes, who shot 30 of 65 from the field and finished with a 48-36 advantage on the boards.
The Sun Devils played without junior forward Romello White and sophomore forward Taeshon Cherry. Both were kept out for violation of team rules and neither played in the exhibition game earlier this week against Peking University. White has been a starter the last two years while Cherry was a key reserve as a freshman but expected to contend for a starting spot this season.
ASU’s biggest deficit of the game was when Colorado, one of the favorites to win the conference title, was up by 17 at 46-29 early in the second half.
The Sun Devils battled back and eventually tied the game at 59 on a bucket inside by Jalen Graham with 10:15 left in the contest. But Wright scored on the Buffs’ next two trips down the court for a 63-59 lead.
A 3-pointer by Martin made it 63-62 but that was as close as the Sun Devils would get.
Coming into this season, ASU was 12-0 in November the past two years and 20-5 in the month in coach Bobby Hurley’s tenure.
ASU plays its home opener at 8 p.m. on Thursday against Central Connecticut State. It will be televised by the Pac-12 Network.