Arizona now falls to 13-7 overall and 4-3 in conference play and while it has been in games throughout the year, late game situations have been an issue. Watching the game, Arizona had control for a lot of the game, but was never able to get a big lead and diminish the hopes of Colorado.
Sean Miller attributes the home court of Colorado and thinks his Wildcats still gained more positives than negatives on this road trip.
"I thought it was a great college basketball game and I give a lot of credit to Colorado," said Miller. "They have an incredible home court here and I think they have a very good team. We had enough good play to win tonight. One of the things we focused on prior to this trip was doing a better job of taking care of the ball and we did that.
"We combined 11 turnovers tonight, nine against Utah, played two road games with 20 turnovers and it's one of the things we set out to do. I thought our effort level was great and it's why we had an opportunity to win. Anytime you had a plus nine on the glass, get to the foul line as many times as we did, take care of the ball the way we did, then you are putting yourself in a great way to win."
There are not too many secrets to be told about this game as Arizona did most of the things necessary to win a basketball game. It controlled the paint, even holding Colorado forward Andre Roberson to zero points and seven rebounds. Jesse Perry with 20 points and 10 rebounds usually means that Arizona comes away with the victory.
But when teams really open up the lead and take control, it is when they can hit open shots, free throws and cause turnovers to lead to easy baskets. Arizona shot 15 percent from three-point land and only caused six turnovers in the game.
"One of the things I don't like to say is that we just couldn't make a shot because it almost sounds like a cop out as a coach, but that is the case," Miller explained. "If you go 3-20 from the field and not every three we took was a quality three, Colorado did a good job on defense, but I would say we had 6-8 of the best shot in the gym for us. Wide open. To break through and win on the road, you have to take advantage of those opportunities."
Many want to associate some of the blame to the altitude, which may have played a very minor role in Arizona's loss. "Maybe a little bit," said Miller. "I will tell you it was why we subbed a lot because of it. Clearly the altitude is a factor, but I wouldn't say that is why we didn't win. We had a couple shots, I don't know if the thin air made the ball go long or short but to me we had open shots to make."
Miller also said that he took a lot of timeouts to help fight cramping from Perry, prevent runs from Colorado and to give his team the next best opportunity to score on offense. As a result, he did not have a timeout for the last shot, but says if he had to do it all over again, it would be the same.
"Late in the games we have been in several, tight games," Miller said. "Individual players have to make free throws and make individual plays to win the game and tonight once again we were 0-for in that.
"We ran one of our favorite plays, a play that worked throughout the game and we had a couple of opportunities and it didn't work."
Kyle Fogg had a chance at making the bonus, but missed on the front end late while Solomon Hill missed his chance at a plus one opportunity minutes later. It was the only miss of the game for Fogg, who went 8 of 9 from the line while Hill only hit 1 of 4 for the entire game.
Free-throws and other small opportunities are key for a win on the road and none of those situations were able to play out in Arizona's favor.
Despite the loss, Miller says he will be able to sleep with this loss rather than some other losses that Arizona has faced this year.
"It's a tough way to lose and I would rather lose like this than the way we lost earlier to Oregon, which I would I have said that I questioned a lot of things in that game," said Miller. "Tonight I questioned nothing. We had great togetherness, great effort, could not make a shot. 3-20 is tough for a team."