Arizona beats Colorado 83-67 to advance to the next round of the Pac-12 tournament
LAS VEGAS-- Arizona men’s basketball advanced to the next round of the Pac-12 tournament after beating Colorado 83-67 Saturday in the T-Mobile Arena.
The game featured a crowd of mostly Arizona fans, Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles sitting courtside, a Colorado player injury and an angry Dusan Ristic.
Arizona was hanging on to a three point lead with just over 13:00 to go when Colorado point guard McKinley Wright went down with a ankle injury. From there Arizona broke the game open with a 14-0 run and held a double-digit lead the rest of the way.
"Obviously when McKinley Wright went down, that certainly hurt them," Arizona head coach Sean Miller said. "But I liked our defense, especially in the second half."
Coming off his last game, where he shot 1-of-10 and only scored two points, Allonzo Trier led the game with 22 points. He shot 5-of-9 and made his way to the free throw line 10 times, where he shot a perfect 10-for-10.
Arizona’s freshman and Pac-12 player of the year, Deandre Ayton, had a uncharacteristic shooting night but still managed to score 10 points and grab six rebounds before he fouled out in the final few minutes.
From the opening tip, Arizona threw to ball inside to Ayton. But Colorado’s seven-footer Dallas Walton blocked his first layup and then he missed his next three attempts. For the rest of the game, Colorado double-teamed him and tried to keep the Pac-12 Player of the Year away from the rim.
With all the attention Ayton was getting, Dusan Ristic picked up the slack. Ristic was quiet in the first half, but took off in the second, where he scored 12 of his 16 points.
"They play off of each other very well," Miller said. "I think you have to pick your poison, so to speak, in defending them because both of them have proven they are very productive."
The big man from Serbia was fired up throughout the game. At one point Parker Jackson-Cartwright stole the ball from a Colorado player and and the player grabbed his leg and held it so that he couldn’t run down the floor for a fastbreak. Ristic immediately headed over to have a few words with the player and had to be restrained by Alkins and Jackson-Cartwright.
Jackson-Cartwright scored the first five points for Arizona and had eight in the first half. He finished with 14 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals. Rawle Alkins also added 12 points, four rebounds and four steals.
Colorado’s leading scorer George King led the way for the Buffs with 19 points, while Lucas Siewert followed him with 16.
Overall, Arizona shot 44 percent from the floor and 7-of-18 from 3-point range, while Colorado shot 42 percent from the floor and 5-of-20 from deep.
Without is starting point guard for lengths of the game, turnovers hurt the Buffs. Colorado gave up the ball 15 times and never regained a rhythm on offense without Wright on the floor.
Arizona stole the ball 11 times and only turned it over eight times.
The Wildcats now move on to play UCLA on Friday, March 9 at 6:00 p.m. in the T-Mobile arena.
Follow Nate Airulla on Twitter.