BOULDER — Now that’s more like it. The University of Arizona Wildcats have been playing solid defense all year, but haven’t been able to get the offense moving. They put it all together on Saturday night in a dominating 88-61 road win against the Colorado Buffaloes. If they’re able to gain some momentum, this is a team that could win it all.
The Wildcats (25-2, 12-2) shot 60.3 percent as a team and 47.1 percent (8-for-17) from the 3-point line. Aaron Gordon got off the schneid, scoring 23 points with eight rebounds on 10-for-13 from the field. Nick Johnson scored 20 with five rebounds, six assists and a steal, while T.J. McConnell added nine points, 10 assists and four steals. Gabe York helped out on the glass, pulling down 10 rebounds. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had an atypical game, as he struggled to score just four points, while fouling out in just 15 minutes.
After a typically slow first half that saw the Wildcats in front by a score of 31-25, the pace quickened and the offense went into overdrive. The Wildcats outscored the Buffaloes 57-36 in the second half while making 22-of-26 field goal attempts. It’s that other gear that’s been missing from the Wildcats, who hadn’t scored over 80 points since a 91-68 win over Arizona State back on January 16.
Colorado (20-8, 9-6) was coming off of a big win over the Arizona State Sun Devils, but came out extremely flat. They didn’t make a field goal until 10:10 into the first half, when they trailed 22-5. The Buffaloes were led by Josh Scott‘s 18 points and eight rebounds off the bench, as he went a perfect 10-for-10 from the foul line. The only starter to reach double figures was Askia Booker, who finished with 10. The only real saving grace for this game was the fact the Buffaloes got to the free-throw line 33 times, making 25 of them.
Wildcats by the Numbers
- 88 points were a season-high on the road for the Wildcats (previous high of 79 at UCLA on January 9)
- Aaron Gordon’s 23 points were a season-high.
- T.J. McConnell’s 10 assists and four steals both tied his season-high.
Aaron Gordon was coming off perhaps his worse game as a Wildcat, where he scored a season-low three points with five turnovers before fouling out in just 20 minutes. He reversed that trend with one of his best games of the year, scoring 23 points on 10-for-13 shooting and didn’t turn the ball over once.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson will want to put this box score in the garbage. In 15 minutes, he scored just four points, with two rebounds. He missed all three of his free-throw attempts and fouled out. As far as bad games go, this one ranks up there as the worst.
Arizona will be home to play host to the California Golden Bears on Wednesday, February 26 from the McKale Center in Tucson, Arizona.