Lauri Markkanen had 22 points and Kadeem Allen added a career-high 18 while the Arizona Wildcats held off a late surge from Colorado in a 82-73 win at McKale center tonight.
Markkanen scored 22 points on 6-for-11 shooting while Dusan Ristic hd 17 on 7-for-15 shooting and eight rebounds.
Xavier Johnson had 26 points and six rebounds for Colorado, while George King added 12 points and 11 rebounds.
The win moved Arizona to 15-2 overall and 3-0 in the Pac-12, while Colorado dropped to 10-6 and 0-3, although it was the first game all season that the Wildcats allowed an opponent to score 70 points.
After trailing by 20 points earlier in the second half, Colorado cut Arizona’s lead to just four points twice in the last three minutes. But a layup from Dusan Ristic, turnover by Colorado’s Xavier Johnson and field goal from Parker Jackson-Cartwright put the Wildcats ahead 75-66 and then a free throw from Rawle Alkins at the one-minute mark made it 76-66.
The Wildcats struggled to defend Colorado inside and out early, with the Buffs hitting 5 of 7 shots to begin the game and taking a 10-1 lead. The Wildcats were also getting outrebounded 11-2 when Colorado held an 18-12 lead with 13 minutes left in the first half.
But all those numbers turned around the rest of the way. Arizona went on a 19-2 run later in the first half, led by 12 at halftime and up to 20 points in the second half. During UA’s 19-2 run, Colorado hit just 1 of 14 field goals.
However, Colorado began to make it interesting heading into the final four minutes. A 9-0 run, capped by a 3-pointer from Wesley Gordon, cut UA’s lead to just 67-60 heading into the final media timeout with 3:58 left.
Arizona allowed Colorado to shoot 43.5 percent from the field while the Buffs outrebounded UA 38-32. But the Wildcats were 8 for 14 from 3-point range and took 19 more trips to the line than Colorado, making 26 of 33 free throws.
In the first half, Allen had 12 points to help Arizona overcome a rough start to take a 39-27 halftime lead.
Arizona shot only 37.9 percent and was outrebounded 21-18 but made up for it by holding CU to 34.5-percent shooting and taking 11 more free throws than the Buffs did. UA was 12 of 16 from the free-throw line, while Colorado was 2 of 5.
With just 2:33 left in the first half, Colorado coach Tad Boyle picked up a technical foul, and Allen made one of two ensuing free throws to give UA a 33-24 lead.
The Wildcats finished the first half on a 10-3 run, with Colorado's Johnson making a 3-pointer just before the halftime buzzer.
Arizona struggled on both ends early, missing its first five field goals and allowing Colorado to score inside and out while taking a 10-1 lead. UA coach Sean Miller called a timeout just 2:23 into the game after CU went up 7-1.
George King hit two early corner threes for the Buffaloes, while Xavier Johnson later added another that made it 13-4, and the Buffs were able to penetrate inside for layups.
The Buffs held an 18-12 lead by the second media timeout (11:47), lead seven minutes into the first half, having outrebounded UA 11-2 at that point. But UA pulled into a 19-18 lead by the time Markkanen dunked with 9:45 left.
Arizona was playing without Allonzo Trier for the 17th game because of his NCAA suspension.
There had been speculation Trier might return tonight because it is the Wildcats’ first since the midway point of the season. Some NCAA appeals can result in a half-season suspension instead of a full season.
Trier shook up his usual pregame routine. He put in an intense hourlong workout in the late afternoon then did not show for the Wildcats’ usual pregame workout 90 minutes before the game, when he usually is there to watch.
UA has not commented on Trier’s eligibility status since October, and the NCAA has also declined comment on the situation.