For the second time in as many days, the Colorado Buffaloes were in the game against another solid basketball team but in the end, couldn't register the win. After leading for most of yesterday's game against Gonzaga, the Bulldogs two best players in Steven Gray and Matt Bouldin took over to give the team from Spokane a four point win. Tuesday, Arizona's best player, G Nic Wise, led his team to victory. He scored 30 points, including 16 of the Cats' final 19, to lead Arizona past the Buffs 91-87 in overtime in the second round consolation game at the Maui Invitational.
Wise scored the Wildcats last eight points of regulation to give Arizona a 80 - 72 lead with 52 seconds left but the Buffs fought back to tie the game forcing overtime. Once again, Cory Higgins led Colorado with 28 points going 10 - 22 from the field. True freshman Alec Burks put in another solid performance scoring 19, including 9 - 10 from the free throw line. Austin Dufault also continues to have a solid early season, efficiently scoring 14 points and grabbing a team high 11 rebounds in 29 minutes.
Arizona got in early foul trouble, totaling 29 total fouls for the game with seven of their players obtaining three or more fouls in the game but Colorado couldn't get players like Solomon Hill or Jamelle Horne on the bench with their fifth. The Buffs did take advantage from the foul line, hitting 26 of 32 free throws.
While the Buffs had the clear advantage from the charity stripe, Arizona won this game with their success from the three point line, while Colorado couldn't seem to connect from long. You don't see many teams shoot over 50% from beyond the arc but that is what the Wildcats did. Arizona hit 14 - 24 (58.3%) while Colorado connected on only 5 of 19. Both Wise and Thorn had five three pointers a piece.
The Buffs tend to play a good amount of zone defense and that can be trouble when a team gets hot from the outside. The zone defense helps the Buffs compensate for a lack of height in the middle but can lead to a string of three pointers. Yesterday, the Buffs allowed Gonzaga G Steven Gray to hit 4 - 7 from deep en route to a career high 27 points. Colorado will need to get the perimeter defense tightened up.
Buffs JUCO transfer Marcus Relphorde had a tough day, going 0 - 7 from the field with just one point.
The loss drops Colorado to 3 - 2 on the year, with both losses coming in Maui. Tomorrow (12:00 pm MT, ESPNU), the Buffs will play against tournament host Chaminade, who lost to Maryland and Vanderbilt in the first two rounds of the tournament.
Overall, though, you can see the improvement on this team and this early competition will get them better prepared for Big 12 play. Now the Buffs just need to start taking these opportunities where they play competitively for most of the game and turn them into wins.