Despite a high-performing first half against No. 7 Arizona on Thursday night in Las Vegas, Colorado couldn’t survive a second-half Wildcat surge as they dropped their quarterfinal game of the Pac-12 tournament, 92-78.
Throughout the entire first half, the Buffaloes gave the Wildcats a run for their money as they never gave them a significant lead, but that quickly changed in the second half.
Per the usual, senior guard Derrick White shined for the Buffalo offense, as he finished with 31 points, six rebounds and five assists. Senior forward Xavier Johnson aided in the effort with 20 points and seven rebounds of his own, followed by George King’s 11 points. They didn’t get much help from the rest of the team.
For the night, the Buffs shot 39.3 percent from the field, which was far surpassed by Arizona’s 55.6 percent.
In a complete turnaround from the night before against one of the worst teams in the conference, the Buffs brought their A-game in the first half against one of the best teams. Throughout the entire first 20 minutes, the Buffs nagged the Wildcats on offense and defense, and wouldn’t let them gain much of an edge at any point, largely thanks to White’s 15 points.
At the half, the Wildcats led the Buffs by just a 38-37 score after shooting 48 percent to CU’s 40 percent.
That luck quickly changed at the start of the second half, as Arizona ramped up the intensity and led by as much as 13 in the first five minutes. Although the Buffs tried their hardest to break the Wildcats, they couldn’t overcome their mounting ferocity.
In the end, the Buffs fell to the Wildcats. While an appearance in the Big Dance seems highly unlikely for Colorado, they have a good shot at making the NIT. Selections will be announced on Sunday.