Arizona raced out to a 21-5 lead and never looked back as Colorado failed to match the Wildcats' physical defense all night long and lost 88-61 at the Coors Event Center. The crowd was desperately waiting for the Buffs to give them something to erupt for, but they just never managed to. The Buffaloes came close when they trailed 37-33 with 17 minutes to go in the second half, but Arizona made the remaining action a beatdown as they outscored Colorado 51-28 going forward. Josh Scott led Colorado with 18 points and eight rebounds and Askia Booker added 10 points. No other Buff was in double figures. The loss now puts Colorado at 9-6 in the Pac-12 and 20-8 overall.
Things the Buffaloes did well:
It's hard to find many bright spots from this game. The Buffs did show some resiliency in the first half and cut the sixteen point deficit they once faced to 31-25 at halftime. Other than that, there wasn't much.
Things the Buffaloes struggled with:
They caved in to Arizona's defensive physicality and came out incredibly flat to start the game. If Arizona made their free throws early, the game might not have ever been close at all. The Buffs had five points through 10 minutes of play and missed shot after shot. None of them were good looks as they were either forced in the lane trying to dribble through Arizona's frontcourt or rushed threes from outside. In their past two games, Colorado had 29 assists. Against Arizona, the Buffaloes only had six.
In the first half, Colorado shot 22 percent and only made six shots. They didn't do much better in the second half finishing the night with 17 made field goals at a 32 percent clip. Askia Booker and Josh Scott went a combined 8-of-25 from the field and Xavier Johnson had arguably his worst game of the season. He couldn't guard Nick Johnson at all and went 1-of-10 from the field. There were multiple possessions where he didn't play any help defense and let Arizona players penetrate into the lane easily.
He wasn't the only one, however, as the entire team's perimeter defense was very poor. They were late running through screens and allowed Arizona to get open looks from behind the arc which led to the Wildcats' 47 percent clip from three. In the second half, the Wildcats missed four shots and shot 84 percent from the field.
Aaron Gordon had his way against Colorado as he finished with 23 points on 10-of-13 shooting and picked up eight rebounds. Arizona simply outworked and outmuscled the Buffaloes in every facet of the game. This game was a chance for Colorado to show that they could still play with the elite teams without Spencer Dinwiddie and they blew that chance in every possible way.
Colorado will face Utah this Saturday on the road and will obviously need to put together a much better performance than they did on Senior Night to take down the Utes. This game is critical for the Buffaloes' tournament hopes as is every game going forward. Colorado continues to hover around the bubble and will likely need to win one of their final three games on the road to have a chance to hear their name on Selection Sunday.