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In a hard fought game, the Buffs managed to squeak out a win.
The University of Colorado men’s basketball team beat the Arizona Wildcats (13-7, 4-3 Pac-12) 64-63 in front of the first sold-out crowd of the season at the Coors Events Center in Boulder. The Buffs improve to 13-6 overall and 5-2 in the Pac-12.
“We knew coming into this game, it was going to be a dog fight,” Colorado head coach Tad Boyle said. “Arizona is a well-coached, tough, experienced team, and we knew were going to have to play well to beat them, and we played well enough.”
The Wildcats shot 34.5 percent, hitting only three shots from behind the 3-point arc and going 22-30 from the foul line. The Buffs were 40.7 percent from the field, 4-of-17 on 3-pointers and hit 16-of-26 field goals.
Arizona senior forward Jesse Perry led all scorers with 20 points, shooting 6-for-13 and 8-of-11 from the foul line. Senior guard Kyle Fogg added 16 points for the Wildcats, hitting two 3-pointers and 8-of-9 field goals.
The Buffs were led by senior guard Carlon Brown, who scored 19 points. Freshman guard Spencer Dinwiddie had 13, and senior forward Austin Dufault had 12.
Colorado looked shaky at the start of the game, giving up plenty of open shots and offensive rebounds. The Wildcats out-rebounded the Buffs 20-14 in the first half, with 8 offensive rebounds. The Buffs also struggled from the foul line early on, going 10-of-15 in the half.
Despite their dominance on the glass, the Wildcats never led by more than 8 points, letting the Buffs hang around. Colorado tied the game at 16 with a 3-pointer by freshman guard Askia Booker. The Buffs pushed on to a 4 point lead, but the Wildcats bounced back with a 39-35 lead in to the locker room at halftime.
Arizona’s Perry led first half scoring with 12 points, going 4-of-7 from the field and hitting 4-of-5 free throws. Dinwiddie led the Buffs with 11 first half points, going 4-of-5 from the line and hitting a long range 3.
The Buffs came out of the game quicker in the second half, evening the score at 39 with 17:10 left to play. Brown gave them their first lead of the half with a strong layup and also drew the foul. Brown hit the free throw, giving the Buffs a 2-point advantage.
The game remained close, down the stretch, and the Wildcats took a 2 point lead with 1:38 remaining. Colorado responded with a Brown 3-pointer to reclaim the lead with 64-63.
The Buffs’ defense came up big in the final minutes, forcing an Arizona air ball as the clock expired.
The players said they were happy getting a defensive stop to win the game.
“We talk about that every day in practice,” Brown said. “Sometimes our offense isn’t going to click, so defense has to step up, and we did that tonight.”
Colorado’s sophomore forward Andre Roberson struggled throughout the game, going 0-of-8 and only grabbing seven rebounds.
With one of the Buffs’ best players struggling, the players thought that this win showed the resilience of the team.
“Whether it’s guys coming off the bench scoring, or guys starting, I think we’ve had a really good balance of guys contributing,” Dufault said. “If one guy has a bad game, somebody has been there, or a couple guys have been there to pick up the slack.”
Next up for the Buffs is a Los Angeles road trip where they will face USC at 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 26 and UCLA two days later at 2 p.m. on Jan. 28.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Mark McNeillie at Mark.firstname.lastname@example.org.