The stars were out in Las Vegas as the Arizona Wildcats took down Colorado and advanced to the Pac-12 semifinals, where they'll face UCLA on Friday. Here's the best from the quarterfinals at T-Mobile Arena.
By Justin Spears / Arizona Daily Star
Allonzo Trier warmed up before Arizona’s Pac-12 Tournament opener Thursday wearing a pair of purple and yellow Kobe shoes. He changed them to a pair of red and blue Paul George Nikes — better to match the UA uniforms — about 15 minutes later. Trier then dropped 22 points on nine shot attempts. It must be the shoes!
This boot is made for coaching
Colorado coach Tad Boyle suffered a torn calf muscle at the end of yesterday’s game vs. ASU. He’s in a walking boot for today’s game vs. UA. pic.twitter.com/Uy0otENTly— ABC15 Sports (@abc15sports) March 8, 2018
Tad Boyle, meanwhile, sported a different kind of footwear.
Colorado’s coach wore a black walking boot on his right leg, one day after he was injured while attempting to break up a scuffle between Tyler Bey and Arizona State guard Tra Holder. Boyle either tore or strained his calf muscle, CU officials said. Boyle tucked his suit pants into the boot and stood for the entire game.
Refs keying in on Ayton
Deandre Ayton says officials key in on him when he’s on offense: “I just feel like the refs allow guys to guard me any type of way, but when I come down and protect myself, it’s an offensive foul. ... It’s probably because they’ve never seen a guy my size before.” pic.twitter.com/oe9JNq0Us5— The Wildcaster (@TheWildcaster) March 8, 2018
Deandre Ayton is one of the more physically imposing players in college basketball right now, which may actually be a disadvantage. Ayton fouled out for the third time this season. Two of his five fouls came on the same sequence in the second half. He picked up an offensive foul, then was assessed a technical foul for, officials said, “dropping the ball.”
Ayton said after the game that officials focus on him and let defenders guard him without restrictions.
“I just feel like the refs allow guys to guard me any type of way, but when I come down and protect myself, it’s an offensive foul,” Ayton said. “It’s probably because they’ve never seen a guy my size before.”
At 7 feet 1 inch and 260 pounds, there’s not too many Aytons walking on planet Earth right now.
Look who made their way to Las Vegas for the Pac-12 Tournament! Super Bowl winning QB Nick Foles. pic.twitter.com/gBZrXptls6— The Wildcaster (@TheWildcaster) March 8, 2018
The Pac-12 Tournament typically brings out several celebrities and prominent sports figures. On Wednesday, NBA legends Julius Erving and Gary Payton were in attendance. Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles, a former UA star, attended Thursday’s game between his alma mater and Colorado. He and former UA teammate David Douglas arrived at their courtside seats at halftime, and stuck around for the ensuing UCLA-Stanford game.
Foles went relatively incognito, sporting an olive green T-shirt and gray Under Armour hat. He spent much of his time shaking hands and taking photos.
The UCLA-Stanford game featured both a magic show and a Magic show. Lakers great Magic Johnson watched the showdown from his courtside seats. Johnson, now the Los Angeles Lakers’ president of basketball operations, could well have been looking for his next draft pick. Last year, the Lakers took UCLA’s Lonzo Ball No. 2 overall and Utah’s Kyle Kuzma at No. 27. The Lakers have a late first-round pick this year, putting some of the game’s players — UCLA’s Aaron Holiday? Stanford’s Reid Travis? — in play.
Forward Ira Lee missed the final four games of the regular season because he was in the concussion protocol. Lee was active for Thursday, but didn’t receive any minutes. Guards Brandon Randolph and Alex Barcello also sat in what turned into a runaway win.
Dusan Ristic on taking on the enforcer role and being more physical: pic.twitter.com/1qoCUSraGm— The Wildcaster (@TheWildcaster) March 8, 2018
For the first time in his Arizona career, Dusan Ristic recorded a double-double in the Pac-12 Tournament. The closest he had been was against Colorado last season when recorded 15 points and eight rebounds.
The big number
Number Arizona wins over Colorado in Las Vegas.
The big number II
Points Arizona was favored by over Colorado on Thursday. The Wildcats covered.
Marching band song of the day
UCLA’s band played "California Love" by Tupac and Dr. Dre.
He said it
Deandre Ayton on how he’s handled the drama over the last few weeks: “It adds more fuel to the fire.”— The Wildcaster (@TheWildcaster) March 8, 2018
When asked what he thought about opposing fans waving 100 Grand bars at him: “All eyes are on me and I’m gonna put on a show. I’m an entertainer, I like to entertain.” pic.twitter.com/uZTMnna60w
“It adds more fuel to the fire. … All eyes are on me and I’m gonna put on a show. I’m an entertainer, I like to entertain.” — Ayton, on fans heckling him during games