Ballo dominates inside, No. 8 Arizona beats Colorado 78-68
TUCSON, Ariz. - Oumar Ballo had 18 points and 16 rebounds, Cedric Henderson Jr. added 15 points and No. 8 Arizona dominated inside to beat Colorado 78-68 on Feb. 18.
The Wildcats (24-4, 13-4 Pac-12) opened with a rash of turnovers, falling into an early 12-point hole. Arizona righted itself quickly with a big run and slogged through a slowed-down second half by shutting down the Buffaloes.
Henderson and Ballo picked up the slack with leading scorer Azuoulas Tubelis in foul trouble, combining to hit 14 of 21 shots. Those two helped Arizona outscore Colorado 40-24 in the paint.
The Buffaloes (15-13, 7-10) used a closing 17-3 run to upend Arizona State 67-59 on Thursday night, but a big hole was too much to overcome in one of the nation’s toughest road environments.
Tristan da Silva had 18 points for Colorado, which shot 38%.
Arizona bounced back from a loss to Stanford by shooting 56% from the floor in an 88-62 thumping of Utah on Thursday night.
The Wildcats stumbled out of the gate against Colorado.
Arizona made sloppy passes for turnovers on four of its first five possessions while the Buffaloes ran their offense crisply. Colorado made seven of its first 11 shots to take an early 12-point lead.
The Wildcats shook out the cobwebs after that, upping their play at both ends of the floor.
Arizona went on a 12-0 run to tie it up and held Colorado without a field goal for 3 1/2 minutes to build a 41-30 lead. The Wildcats hit 17 of 32 shots and didn’t have a turnover the final 15 1/2 minutes of the first half to lead 46-34.
Colorado quickly cut the lead to seven to start the second half but went nearly 5 1/2 minutes without hitting a shot as Arizona extended it to 54-41.
The Buffaloes slowed down Arizona will full-court pressure, but seemed to have defensive breakdowns at crucial moments — like a dunk by Henderson at the shot clock buzzer.
Colorado: The Buffaloes couldn’t have gotten off to a much better start in what’s been a house of horrors for them. Colorado managed to bog down Arizona’s offense in the second half, but struggled offensively to remain winless (0-11) at McKale Center since joining the Pac-12 in 2011-12.
Arizona: Turnovers have been a problem for the Wildcats at times this season, but most of the time they’ve been able to overcome it. They did it again Saturday night behind a stifling defense that’s gotten better as the season has progressed.
Colorado: plays at Southern California on Thursday.
Arizona: hosts rival Arizona State next Saturday.
AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25
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