Arizona was able to mount a comeback against Colorado on Thursday. Read on to see how it did it, who stood out, and other notes on the win.
The Pac-12 opener was a wild affair in Tucson between the Arizona
Wildcats and the Colorado
Buffaloes. CU was in control for much of the gamem but the Wildcats made a big run down the stretch - as they have numerous times already this season – and were able to pull off the unlikely victory.
Some questionable officiating came into play down the stretch, which was capped off by what appeared to be a bad ruling on a buzzer beater at the end of regulation. A three-pointer that was banked in by Sabatino Chen appeared to give Colorado the victory as time expired.
Instead, the officials ruled the shot came after the clock read 0.0 and UA was able to utilize overtime to pull off the dramatic victory.
While the story of the game will most certainly be the call at the end of regulation, there was much more that happened throughout the course of the contest that impacted the outcome of the game. The Wildcats were able to make a late push thanks to one of the best sixth men in the nation.
Senior Kevin Parrom continues to play impressively off the bench and has provided exactly what a contending team needs from its sixth man. Parrom's play in the second half, including the extra frame, is what sparked UA's comeback victory. The forward concluded the night with 16 points, 14 of which came after halftime.
Parrom's impact went beyond his scoring output. The senior was all over the court, grabbing eight rebounds, collecting three steals on the defensive end of the floor, and dishing out a pair of assists. In a game where the Wildcats needed someone to light a fire under them, Parrom was one of the players to answer the call.
Mark Lyons was another player who did whatever he could to lead UA to victory. The senior guard finished with 24 points and was not shy about taking the ball to the basket and drawing contact.
Lyons did a good chunk of his scoring at the foul line, where he connected on all 10 of his foul shots. Lyons didn't have his best shooting night from the field, but his grittiness and toughness made up for it in the long run.
Forward Solomon Hill added 15 points and eight rebounds in the winning effort. Hill was especially effective from the outside, which included a 2-for-3 performance from beyond the arc. Hill did have one blemish on his stat line with five turnovers, but his impact on the floor was positive overall and one of the main reasons the Wildcats were able to scratch their way back into the contest.
Despite a 2-for-11 shooting night, sophomore Nick Johnson still reached double figures with 12 points and was also able to impact the game in other areas by grabbing five rebounds, dishing out four assists, and displaying strong defense again with three steals.
Even when Johnson struggles shooting the ball, he always finds a way to make his presence felt for UA and Thursday night's performance displayed that perfectly.
Parrom wasn't the only player to do damage to Colorado off the bench. Freshman Grant Jerrett scored 10 points on 4-for-9 shooting, including 2-for-3 from three-point range. Jerrett's presence in the paint also led to six rebounds, four of which came on the offensive side of the floor.
The play of Parrom and Jerrett off the bench was as impactful as anything else that occurred in UA's favor and led the bench to one of its better showings of the season.
Starting center Kaleb Tarczewski was the only other player to reach double figures. The freshman scored 10 points, grabbed four rebounds, and blocked a shot in 23 minutes of action. Along with Jerrett, Tarczewski's play in the paint allowed Arizona to neutralize what Colorado presented inside.
Arizona held the rebounding edge and, in a game that was close like this one, controlling the glass proved to be essential. The Wildcats out-rebounded Colorado 39-31, grabbing 12 of those rebounds on the offensive end of the floor.
The extra offensive opportunities led to 17 second-chance points whereas Colorado could only muster up two second-chance points throughout the entire 45 minutes of play.
Free throws can make a world of difference in a close affair and UA proved that by holding an 11-point advantage at the charity stripe. The Wildcats connected on 28 out of 36 free throw attempts while the Buffaloes went just 17-for-29 from the foul line.
This wasn't the first time UA overcame a big deficit to win this season. After doing something similar to Florida in recent weeks, Arizona overcame a deficit that was as large as 17 points in the first half to pull off the improbable victory.
Teams generally don't want to rely on having to come back from large deficits on a consistent basis, but now it looks like the Wildcats are a team finding ways to win ball games rather than lose them.
Knowing how to win the close ones can be a big factor come tournament time and the Wildcats are learning how to do just that quite well.