After 10 days from their last matchup, the Arizona men's basketball team was back in McKale Center to play University of Colorado Boulder on Thursday evening. It was also Arizona’s second game in 22 days, and the Wildcats defeated the Colorado Buffaloes 76-55. With this win, Arizona moves up 3-0 in the PAC-12 and 13-1 overall.
Against all odds, Arizona went off on a good start, going up 7-0 to start the game but closed the half only up 32-28. Justin Kier had an important impact from the bench, scoring 14 points, while Colorado was carried by the plays of KJ Simpson, who had 17 in the game.
In the second part of the game, Arizona took the fly, carried by the performances of Azuolas Tubelis and Bennedict Mathurin, who both went double digits, 14 and 13 respectively. Tubelis contributed with the help of Christian Koloko, to limit Colorado’s star Jabari Walker to just four points.
Among the rest of the Wildcats, Pelle Larsson was in double digits too with 12 points, while Kerr Kriisa had troubles shooting only two points but dished out 10 assists.
Arizona shot 51% from the field [29/57], 35% from the 3-point line [7/20]and a poor 58% from the free-throw line [11/19]. The team finished with 44 rebounds and had 16 turnovers.
“It’s just coming in and bringing in energy, no matter how the first half started,” Kier said. “We took the pedal off the gas a bit in the first half. It happened in the last couple of games, and it’s something we can’t do and I know for a fact we will fix it.”
“We started the game with good effort, then we let our guard down, lost our effort. Our defense kicks our offense. I’m proud of how the guy responded in the second half,” said head coach Tommy Lloyd. “[Larsson] is really coming on. He’s really about to turn the corner.
"I challenged [Kier] to play better and he did. I’m happy, he’s a great guy," Lloyd said. "He just has to be more consistent and more focused all the time because he’s capable of that”.
Next up: Arizona will play the University of Utah Saturday afternoon in McKale Center, before going on the road to play Stanford next Thursday.
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