TEMPE, Ariz. – A pair of losses in Kansas City derailed what had been a good start to the season for Arizona State.
Coming back home, even without two key players, the Sun Devils needed to pick up a win, get headed back in the right direction.
They did, though it wasn't exactly easy.
Gerry Blakes scored 23 points, Shaquielle McKissic added 15 and short-handed Arizona State outlasted Colgate 78-71 Saturday night.
"We definitely needed this win to get back on track," said Blakes, who made 9 of 15 shots and had eight rebounds. "It meant everything to get this win."
The Sun Devils (4-2) played without guards Kodi Justice (back) and Roosevelt Scott (family illness), but didn't seem to miss them on the offensive end, shooting 54 percent.
Arizona State wasn't quite as good defensively, allowing a few too many open looks on the perimeter and uncontested drives to the basket.
Tra Holder had 11 points for Arizona State, which has won 12 straight home games over two seasons, its longest streak since winning 13 straight from 1980-81.
"When you play a team you're supposed to beat and you're coming off two close losses, men of a lesser constitution might have easily crumbled," Arizona State coach Herb Sendek said. "This was a good team we played tonight."
The Raiders (1-5) shot 50 percent and made 9 of 18 from 3-point range, keeping the game close until the final minute.
Austin Tillotson scored 22 points, Matt McMullen 18 and Luke Roh added 14 for Colgate.
"In the second half, I thought we played much better defense," Colgate coach Matt Langel said. "But they made some shots that they needed to make and they were the shots we wanted them to take."
The Sun Devils opened the season with three straight wins before losing a pair of close games at the CBE Classic in Kansas City.
Arizona State opened the tournament with a 78-73 loss to Maryland, and then couldn't stop Alabama's Levi Randolph (28 points) in a 76-71 loss to the Crimson Tide.
The home game against Colgate was expected to be a confidence-builder before UNLV rolls into town next week.
The Raiders were picked to finish eighth in the Patriot League and had one win, over Campbell, in their first five games.
Despite its record, Colgate managed to keep every game close and the scores down. The Raiders' biggest loss was 77-71 to James Madison and every one of their other games, neither team cracked 60 points.
Colgate managed to keep it close in the first half by shooting well after a slow start.
Working the ball around for open looks and getting baskets in transition, the Raiders hit 9 of their first 17 shots and went up 22-21 on a putback by Roh with 7 minutes left in the first half.
McKissic got rolling to give the Sun Devils a cushion at halftime.
Arizona State's senior forward had 14 points in the first half, including an alley-oop in the final minute and a 3-pointer at the buzzer that put the Sun Devils up 43-30.
They didn't. The Raiders did.
Hitting a pair of 3-pointers and working a back-door pick, Colgate hit its first four shots of the second half during a 10-3 run that cut the lead to 46-40.
The Raiders kept making shots, keeping the Sun Devils within reach well into the second half.
Damon Sherman-Newsome hit a 3-pointer with just over 2 minutes left to pull Colgate within 73-70, but Holder scored on a layup with 55 seconds left and Blakes added a pair of free throws to seal it.
"I really credit the toughness of Gerry Blakes," Langel said. "He was a guy that really took it to us tonight."
Colgate: The Raiders made 14 of 26 shots in the second half. ... Colgate held its own on the glass, finished with two less rebounds than Arizona State (28-26).
Arizona State: ASU entered the game shooting 62 percent from the free-throw line this season, but went 22 for 31 against Colgate. ... The Sun Devils made 12 of 21 shots in the second half. ... Arizona State had a 15-0 advantage in bench points.
Colgate hosts Sacred Heart on Wednesday.
Arizona State hosts UNLV on Wednesday.
A junior-college transfer, Blakes has gone through an adjustment period to start his first season in Division I. The junior has started to pick up steam over the past three games, scoring 14, 21 and 23 points while hitting a combined 23 of 44 shots.