THEY'LL SOON BE BACK IN BOULDER - Many expected Arizona would hit Colorado with the beat 'em down on Saturday night. The expectation was about to be met, but Colorado came storming back, still the Wildcats defeated the Buffaloes 82-68 in Tucson.
While it was the game most expected, the Buffaloes gave a solid effort. The Buffaloes brought a bruising style of ball to McKale Center, but still it was not enough. Kadeem Allen went off, Zona could not be stopped from downtown and the Cats snatched more boards than the Buffs would've liked.
Colorado got off to a hot start, taking a quick 10-1 lead on Arizona less than three minutes into the contest. The Buffaloes held off the Wildcats for several minutes until they took a 19-18 lead on a 9-0 run. They wouldn't look back.
Colorado's couldn't answer with a run of their own and Arizona capitalized going on a 7-0 run. Then a 10-0 run soon followed. Overall Arizona went on a 38-14 extended run. Xavier Johnson knocked down a three to end the half and Buffs trailed by 12 at 39-27 as the halftime whistle blew.
In the first half, Colorado's miscues are what did them in, recording 6 more turnovers and four more fouls including a technical on head coach Tad Boyle. An early dominant rebounding performance almost dissipated as the teams went to break.
The second half was more of the same, Arizona came out of the break on a 10-2 run, extending to a 20 point lead. But the Buffs weren't ready to say goodnight, going on an 8-0 run halfway through the second segment. Yet Arizona had the answer, but so too did Colorado. Eventually, the Buffaloes brought it back to single digits at 67-60 at the under four timeout of the second half.
They'd keep chipping away, getting outstanding effort from their team bringing Arizona's lead back to five. The Wildcats would not be beaten though hitting several daggers right before the end.
Where Johnson's back was utilized, Derrick White's was not. Johnson finished with 26 on 9-of-20 shooting with six boards white White only took seven shots on the evening.
Wes Gordon may have had his best game of the season, finishing with 16 points and nine rebounds. But he was outmatched by forward/center combo Lauri Markkanen and Dusan Ristic. Markkanen had 22 points including four threes while Ristic had 17 points and eight boards. Kadeem Allen also carried a load going 9-of-11 from the line, ending with 18 points.