Colorado Basketball: Buffs hang tough with No. 17 Arizona, but lose third straight

The Colorado Buffaloes gave No. 17 ranked Arizona their best shot on Saturday night, but still fell 82-73.

With the loss, the Buffs dropped their third consecutive game, which have all been in the Pac-12 conference. Colorado is now 0-3 in conference play.

Much like it did in its last game against Arizona State, Colorado wasted a solid performance from Xavier Johnson, who scored 26 points on 9-of-20 shooting. Against Arizona State, Derrick White had 35. The Buffs also got 16 points from Wesley Gordon and 12 from George King in the losing effort.

Arizona took a 12-point lead into the half after trailing by as many as nine points early on. Colorado slowly chipped away in the second half after falling down by as much as 20. With 3:27 to play, the Buffs had cut it to within six points after two free throws from Gordon. But in a key sequence with just under two minutes to play, Dusan Ristic scored for the Wildcats and then Johnson turned the ball over, leading to a big shot by Parker Jackson-Cartwright for Arizona. That put the Cats up 75-66 with just over one minute to play and pretty much wrapped it up.

Arizona got 22 points out of it’s 7-foot superstar Lauri Markkanen, but it had four players in double figures.


Colorado turned the ball over 15 times, but the difference in this game came at the foul line, where Arizona made 26 free throws compared to just 10 for Colorado.

Things don’t get any easier for the Buffs as they will face No. 4 UCLA (15-1) on Thursday night in Boulder. With the loss, Colorado drops to 10-6 overall on the season, and needs to get a win soon before the season starts to slip away.