After their crazy comeback win over Washington State, the Colorado Buffaloes were ready to challenge the No. 7 Arizona Wildcats in their second round Pac-12 Tournament game. Thanks to Derrick White, Colorado stayed in the game and even scared Arizona, but it wasn’t enough against as the Buffs are now eliminated Pac-12 and NCAA Tournament contention.
The first half was defined by a series of runs by both teams. After the game started with tight competition, Arizona went on a three-pointer-fueled 15-3 run that looked like they would run away with the game. On that run, the Wildcats’ length caused major problems for the Buffs on both sides of the court. Colorado was only able to hang on by playing physical defense.
Derrick White and company weren’t having any of that and went on a run of their own. With a couple three-pointers, transition layups and tenacious defense, the Buffs came back to briefly take the lead before going into halftime down 38-37. Considering Colorado didn’t even shoot well — they shot 41% from the field and 20% from the field — this half was great for them in their upset bid.
Unfortunately, that run didn’t carry over to the second half. On the contrary, Arizona came out of the half ready to route the Buffs as they started the half with a 12-0 run. Only when White put on his superhero cape did it look like Colorado would avoid a second half blowout. When White decides to take over, it’s a sight to behold. At the end of that Arizona run, White had a chasedown block, made an and-1 layup and assisted a Deleon Brown three-pointer, all in the span of 30 seconds. That span and his game in general was simply ridiculous. He finished with with 31 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and a block.
White was unable to singled-handedly carry the Buffs on both sides of the ball and the team eventually faltered as the team defense collapsed. Despite White’s doing everything in his power, Arizona built back their lead and spent the rest of the half extending it. Colorado lost 92-78, which eliminates them from the Pac-12 Tournament and ends their NCAA Tournament dreams.
Next up for the Buffs is waiting nervously on the NIT selection committee. Assuming Tad Boyle doesn’t want to play in the CBI again, the Buffs’ season will be over if they’re denied a bid. Hopefully the committee lets in the deserving Buffs and we’ll be able to see Derrick White in at least one more game.