Postgame Analysis: Arizona vs. Colorado

Arizona pulled away in the second half on the way to a 63-43 win over Colorado. Read on to find out who the player of the game was, what the key moments were, and more.

Arizona and Colorado were neck and neck heading into the locker room at halftime, but a strong second half surged the Wildcats ahead for a 63-43 win. Here's an analysis of what happened:

Arizona Player of the Game:

Nick Johnson – The junior guard was phenomenal for the Wildcats in the win. Johnson finished the night with 16 points, four rebounds, four assists, and a steal. He played like the Pac-12 Player of the Year and had several show-stopping moments throughout the game, as well as big shots when his team needed them the most. Johnson is an easy choice due to his leadership and play on the court.

Key Moments:

  • The game was close at the start, but Arizona started to build momentum eleven minutes into the first half. Aaron Gordon stole the ball from Dustin Thomas, Colorado's first turnover of the game, and led the fast break, throwing a nasty alley oop to Nick Johnson. After a quick Colorado miss, Johnson came back with a three-pointer, giving the Wildcats a six-point lead.

  • As the first half was coming to a close, Xavier Johnson was fouled on a three-pointer. Luckily for Arizona, Johnson made just one of the three to tie the game at 24. The Wildcats took some momentum into the locker room as T.J. McConnell found Gabe York for a rhythm trey as the clock wound down, giving Arizona a 27-24 lead going into halftime.

  • Arizona began to build momentum in the second half. Leading by just five, McConnell found Johnson for a reverse alley oop in traffic and just moments later, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson threw down a monster slam over Josh Scott, giving the Wildcats a nine-point lead that continued to grow.

  • Colorado cut the lead to seven on an Askia Booker basket-and-one. That was as close as the Buffaloes would get to Arizona as the Wildcats went on a 6-0 run with two baskets and two free throws by Hollis-Jefferson, extending the lead to 12 with just over ten minutes remaining in the game and the Wildcats never looked back.

    Stats of the Game:

    60: Arizona shot 60-percent from the field in the second half of the game. Leading by just three at halftime, Arizona outscored Colorado by seventeen in the second half thanks to hitting 12 of its 20 shots in the second half. The Wildcats were able to pull away and while part of that was due to the offense, Colorado was also held to just two field goals for the first ten minutes of the second half.

    General Thoughts: Arizona played pretty poorly in the first half and it showed. The Wildcats were sloppy, took bad shots and had two shot clock violations. However, it only took a five-minute stretch in the second half to break the game wide open. Colorado got flustered and Arizona started to pull away.

    Only one Wildcat can say that he had a bad day and retrospectively, it wasn't as bad as it would seem for Kaleb Tarczewski. The center had five turnovers in the first half, but had just one in the second half and turned his game around completely. Tarczewski had a dunk during Arizona's pull away from Colorado and finished the game with seven rebounds. He didn't play his best, but overall, it wasn't as bad as it seemed in the first half.

    The final thought for the night is that Arizona is playing extremely well overall in the last two games. Opponents are averaging just 41 points against the stifling Wildcat defense and it will take a great offensive team to get past this Arizona team that is playing so well.

    Sean Miller Quotable:

    "Our defense became great in the second half, but our offense found its flow," Miller said. "We shared the ball. We were more ourselves. It was that combination that really broke the game open."

    Wildcat Quotable:

    "I thought we stood in the first half a lot, and in the second half our offense was a lot better," McConnell said. "We were moving, screening, cutting.

    "We were making open shots, and we were executing the offense. So I think if we do that on a nightly basis, it's going to be pretty tough for us to lose."

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