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A tough night in Tucson: Buffaloes get blown out by Arizona

Let’s all collectively agree to forget this game ever happened

NCAA Basketball: Washington State at Colorado Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

A beaten and battered Colorado squad entered Arizona’s McKale Center in hopes of coming away with their first win in Tucson since 1965. Unfortunately, that’s not quite how things played out.

Colorado, who was 2-0 in conference play, went into Thursday’s game looking to keep their Pac-12 record undefeated. Despite being without stars Tristan da Silva and Cody Williams, the Buffaloes looked to pull off a miracle against the Wildcats.

Tenth ranked Arizona, who just got housed by Stanford on Sunday in a shocking 100-82 loss, was looking vulnerable and needed a big bounce back game against the Buffs. A bounce back performance is exactly what the Wildcats got. Arizona absolutely tee’d off against the Buffaloes, crushing them by a score of 97-50.

Things got ugly right out of the gate. The game opened with Arizona taking a quick 10-6 lead over CU. Colorado center Eddie Lampkin picked up two quick fouls after the first few minutes of play, both of which were questionable at best. Due to getting into early foul trouble, Tad Boyle opted to pull Eddie out of the game to prevent further damage. This spelled the beginning of the end for the Buffaloes.

After the officials took a closer look at Eddie’s fouls, one of them was taken away and reattributed to KJ Simpson with about five minutes played in the first half. Unfortunately, it was already too late at that point. In the time Eddie was out, the flood gates opened for Arizona. The Wildcats went on a 13-0 run to give themselves a 17 point lead with only six minutes played in the game. It felt like the game was already over after the Wildcats took a 23-7 lead.

Arizona maintained a 30+ point lead for nearly the whole game, as they went into halftime up 50-23 and never let up. After a second half that felt like 20 minutes of garbage time, the Buffaloes officially fell to the ‘Cats in one of their most lopsided losses in recent memory. Eddie’s brief absence wasn’t the reason the Buffs lost. In actuality, it barely even played a factor. Arizona just crushed the Buffs in every aspect of the game all night long.

The Wildcats’ defense proved to be way too much for Colorado to handle. Tommy Lloyd’s squad smothered the Buffs in the paint and nearly flawlessly protected the three-point shot. Colorado finished the night shooting 36% from the field and 28% from deep, which is their worst shooting performance this season by a wide margin. The Buffs were visibly overwhelmed by the Wildcats every time they had possession of the ball, which led to a very tough night.

Arizona’s offense looked unstoppable against a depleted Colorado team. Arizona starting guards Kylan Boswell, Pelle Larsson and Caleb Love carved up Colorado’s defense, finishing the game with a combined 48 points. Pre-season Pac-12 player of the year Oumar Ballo out-muscled the Buffs, finishing the game with 9 rebounds in only 21 minutes played. The Buffaloes couldn’t do anything to stop Arizona’s scoring, as they cruised to a 47 point victory.

Just to drive the dagger even deeper into Colorado’s heart, guard Julian Hammond went down with an apparent injury. Hammond has been one of the first men off the bench for Colorado and one of their most reliable shooters, so losing him is a huge blow. Paired with the loss of da Silva and Williams, losing Hammond is potentially catastrophic. Hopefully, Hammond is fine and he can return relatively soon.

The sole silver lining of the game was that Javon Ruffin had a solid performance. Ruffin checked in for Hammond after he left the game due to injury and played well. The Colorado guard was projected to miss the entire season due to a knee injury, but made his return last weekend and seemingly found his footing in Tucson. Ruffin finished the game as Colorado’s leading scoring with 11 points. Having Ruffin back is a massive boost to the Buffs’ guard depth and it’s great to see him playing well.

Colorado’s conference record now falls to 2-1 after Thursday’s loss in Tucson. Colorado was never projected to win this game, especially with two of their three best players out due to injury. Losing by 47 points stings, but this Arizona team is VERY good and the Buffs have yet to hit their full stride.

Thankfully, the Buffs next game shouldn't be this difficult. Tad Boyle and his team head to Tempe to take on an average Arizona State squad on Sunday, hopefully with a rejuvenated and healed Cody Williams.