Postgame Analysis: Arizona vs. Colorado

Arizona rode Aaron Gordon and Nick Johnson to a huge second half in a rout over Colorado on Saturday. Read on to find out who the player of the game was, what plays decided the outcome, and more.

Arizona played one of its best offensive games of the season in a rout of Colorado on the road. The Wildcats beat the Buffaloes 88-61 to complete the weekend sweep. Here's an analysis of what happened:

Arizona Player of the Game:

Aaron Gordon – The freshman had a slow start to the game, but broke out in the second half. He finished the game with a career-high 23 points, grabbed eight rebounds, and had a block in the win over Colorado. It was a great bounce-back effort after he fouled out early in the win over Utah.

Key Moments:

  • Arizona opened the game with an amazing overall performance. The Wildcats scored 19 points in the first eight minutes and held the Buffs to just five free-throws and no field goals during that same stretch. Five Wildcats chipped in during the period and Arizona was able to jump out to a big lead early on.

  • At 9:48, Colorado score its first field goal of the game, sparking a mini-run from the Buffaloes. Jaron Hopkins nailed a three-pointer and Josh Scott added two free-throws to cut the lead down to 12.

  • Just when it looked like Arizona would pull away, Colorado came storming back with a 16-4 over the span of five minutes late in the first half. Arizona's lead dwindled to six going into halftime.

  • With 17:17 left in the game, Aaron Gordon picked up his third foul. It seemed to be a turning point in the game, but Gordon wasn't going to let it slow him down. He scored the next seven Arizona points, including a three-pointer from the corner, to give Arizona a nine-point lead.

  • Arizona used Gordon's seven points to start an offensive onslaught. The Wildcats went on a 45-26 run to end the game. It was the final push for Arizona, which played the best offensive game of the entire season in the road win.

    Stats of the Night:

    84: Arizona played out of its mind in the second half, hitting 22 of 26 shots in the final 20 minutes for an 84-percent field goal percentage. The Wildcats hit six of nine three-pointers and only missed one two-point field goal in the entire second half. That is by far the best offensive performance that the Arizona has had all season long.

    General Thoughts: I'm not sure I have seen a more complete performance since the Wildcats beat the Duke Blue Devils in 2011. Arizona won by 27 points and at the midway point of the second half it wasn't even close.

    The Wildcats scored 88 points in the game and it was the most points that Arizona has scored since the 91 it scored against ASU in January.

    Gordon scored 23, Nick Johnson scored 21, breaking out of his own funk, and T.J. McConnell dished out ten assists with no turnovers. In addition, Gabe York soared for a career high ten rebounds, a game-high.

    I feel confident in saying that if Arizona can play with the same intensity it did against Colorado, it is one of the best teams in the country, even without Brandon Ashley. It remains to be seen as to if the Wildcats can play like this consistently going forward, but with the team clicking like it was in the second half, it is hard to imagine that Arizona is not going to be using that as a confidence builder for the rest of the season. Sean Miller Quotable:

    "I don't think you have any of our players saying anything negative about Colorado, saying, `We're going to win by 20," Miller said. "We don't do that. For us, we have to play the right way. We have to compete hard. And certainly we respect Colorado."

    Wildcat Quotable:

    "We've had a few shoot arounds here, we felt comfortable in their gym, it all just clicked for us," Johnson said.

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