After an impressive first round performance against the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the Maui Invitational, the Buffs will have to turn around this afternoon and play the Arizona Wildcats. Arizona lost late last night to the Wisconsin Badgers 65 - 61. The game will be shown on ESPN2, 2:00 pm MT.
Colorado handled the Bulldogs for most of the game but lost a close one 76 - 72. Buffs G Cory Higgins scored 19, going 7 - 16 from the field. While the Buffs did a fantastic job against the Bulldogs' front court, holding C Robert Sacre and PR Elias Harris to 18 points and just 6 - 15 from the field, they struggled containing Gonzaga on the perimeter. Colorado had to pick their poison to crash the posts and the Bulldogs two most veteran players, guards Matt Bouldin and Steven Gray, took control. Gray, who struggled the first three games of the year, returned to his pure shooting form, scoring a game and career high 27 points, going 6 - 12 from the field and 4 - 7 from behind the arc. After a slow start, Bouldin came through clutch in the end, finishing with 21 points, 5 boards and 5 assists.
The major difference in the game was Gonzaga shot 19 more free throws than Colorado, as the Buffs shot a higher field goal percenatage than the team from the West Coast Conference.
In a losing effort, Arizona got a big performance last night from freshman Derrick Williams. The 6'7" forward scored 25 points, 13 which was from the charity strip. While Williams had a strong game, the Wildcats are led by G Nic Wise. Wise struggled yesterday, going 3 - 12 from the field. He picked up two early fouls in the first 92 seconds of the game and was forced to take a seat on the bench. He never seemed to recover after that. An astounding 54 fouls were called in the game between the Badgers and Wildcats resulting in four player foul outs, three from Arizona. The Wildcats had 30 fouls called against them alone. Sixty-six free throws were shot. Fifety-five were shot in the Buffs game yesterday.
The Buffs matchup much better against the Wildcats than they did against Gonzaga as Arizona's starting five yesterday did not feature a player taller than 6'7". The tallest player in Colorado's starting five is 6'9". Gonzaga featured three seven footers.
The key today will be redefining the game plan to focus on Arizona's perimeter in Nic Wise. The Buffs can't allow Arizona to have the day Gonzaga had on the perimeter.