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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Late surge lifts Arizona over Buffs

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Colin Darland
Colin Darland / Daily Wildcat

After a so-so start to the Pac-12 conference season, the Arizona men’s basketball team won its third straight game as it defeated the Colorado Buffaloes 71-57 at the McKale Center on Thursday.

“I have a lot of anxiety in our home games because I haven’t gotten that good feeling, that confident feeling, that we established a year ago,” Arizona head coach Sean Miller said. “Tonight we did. I thought the way we played tonight is reminiscent of how we’re played on the road.”

Arizona (17-8, 8-4 Pac-12) was able to cling to a late 10-point lead and had the momentum throughout the last five minutes of the game.

Big runs and defensive stops helped the Wildcats steadily build their lead throughout the second half. Arizona held Colorado to seven offensive rebounds — including just one in the first half.

Junior Solomon Hill and senior Jesse Perry both finished with double-doubles and combined for 33 points and 25 rebounds.

“The way we played defense we made them missed shots so it’s a lot more shots for me to rebound,” Hill said.

The Wildcats also induced early foul trouble for the Buffaloes, forcing Colorado head coach Tad Boyle to adjust and play a smaller lineup. Six Buffaloes finished with three or more personal fouls.

Arizona was able to take advantage of the mismatches and finished the game on a 12-3 run halfway through the second half that put the game away.

“They had a couple guys in foul trouble and then they had to go to a smaller lineup,” Hill said. “When they go to a smaller lineup they can’t really execute their offense.”

Arizona’s struggles from the free-throw line have been well-documented, but on Thursday that wasn’t the case. Arizona made up for its struggles from beyond the arc — where it shot just 3-for-16 — by going 26-for-35 from the charity stripe.

Kyle Fogg continued his recent hot-streak right from the opening tip, as he started the game off with a 3-pointer that helped to spark the Arizona’s offense early. The senior finished with 15 points, five rebounds, one assist and one steal.

“I think it’s just finally starting to become consistent,” Fogg said about his hot streak in the past few games. “It’s kind of a big part of our team if I disappear in the past. I think when I’m scoring it opens up things for (Solomon Hill) and Jesse (Perry) as well.”

Although the team is on an upswing, Miller said the key to its success would be in practice rather than focusing on do-or-die games.

“I feel confident telling you that a lot of the teams we’ve had have gotten better as the season grows and I hope this team follows suit,” Miller said.

Arizona hosts Utah

The Wildcats will take on the Utah Utes (5-19, 2-10) on Saturday in McKale Center. The Utes lost to ASU on Thursday night as they shot just 30 percent from the floor. Chris Hines led the Utes with 10 points. Arizona last took on Utah on Jan. 19 in Salt Lake City where the Wildcats won by a score of 77-51. The game is at noon on Saturday.

Be sure to check out our photo gallery from the game!

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