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Arizona 68, Colorado 54

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Updated 12 months ago on
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TUCSON, Ariz. — Arizona took advantage of two Colorado starters out with injury and beat the visiting Buffaloes 68-54 despite a career night from Colorado guard Askia Booker on Thursday.

With teammates Josh Scott and Xavier Johnson in street clothes, Booker scored 30 points, hitting 6 of 9 3-pointers.

Arizona got 20 points from freshman guard Stanley Johnson, 14 from center Kaleb Tarczewski and 12 from guard Elliott Pitts, who hit 4 of 7 3-pointers.

Booker scored 15 first-half points, but Arizona closed the half on a 12-4 run and led 35-25 at the break.

It would have been worse for the Buffaloes had Booker not buried a deep 3-pointer with less than five seconds left in the half. Booker worked the clock down and launched the shot from a few steps behind the arc.

The shot stole some of the momentum from the Wildcats, who held Colorado without a field goal for a stretch in which they shot 12-for-13. Arizona forward Brandon Ashley scored in transition and then added a three-point play. Pitts hit a 3-pointer, and Johnson added four points on two foul shots and a leaner in the lane.

Colorado used an early 7-0 run to build up a 9-4 lead, but the Wildcats answered with 11 in a row. Pitts started the run with a 3-pointer, and the Wildcats added a pair of transition buckets. Johnson’s breakaway dunk to put Arizona up 15-9.

The Buffaloes opened the second half with seven of the first nine points, including a 3-pointer by Booker, but they gave their senior guard a rest and Arizona responded with five quick points, including a three-point play by Tarczewski just moments after Colorado shifted to a zone defense. After Tarczewski converted the free throw, the Wildcats led 44-42.

Colorado cut the Arizona lead to four with a pair of easy buckets at the hoop, including guard Jaron Hopkins’ two-handed jam that drew a timeout from Arizona coach Sean Miller. But the Wildcats responded with back-to-back 3-pointers by Pitts and guard T.J. McConnell that pushed the lead to 53-42.

After four quick points from Tarczewski, Booker answered with his sixth three of the night, but he hurt his ankle and went to the locker room with his Buffs down 61-49 with 5:20 to play.

Booker was out for 1:28, but Arizona could not take advantage as neither team scored. Booker’s return did not spark the Buffaloes, however, as the Wildcats scored seven of the next nine points, including four foul shots by Johnson and a 3-pointer by Pitts.

NOTES: Colorado was without two starting forwards, Josh Scott (back) and Xavier Johnson (ankle), and suited up just 10 players. … Arizona was without junior G Gabe York, who was nursing an injured ankle. … ESPN had a three-man announcer crew, with play-by-play man Dave Pasch joined by Jay Bilas and Bill Walton. Bilas wore a tie-dye T-shirt in honor of Walton.

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