Colorado vs Arizona

Time: 09:00 P.M. EST

Arizona put on a defensive clinic in its Pac-12 tournament opener, matching the most lopsided victory in the history of the event.

Coach Sean Miller's team has given Colorado fits, too.

The No. 4 Wildcats look to clamp down against the Buffaloes again when these teams meet in the semifinals Friday night in Las Vegas.

Arizona (29-3) was at its best in Thursday's 71-39 rout of Utah, setting the record for fewest points allowed in the tournament. The Wildcats also held the Utes to a tournament record-low 25.5 percent shooting and outrebounded them 39-24.

"They took pride in guarding us," Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said. "They took the life out of us."

Arizona is allowing 58.1 points per game to rank as one of the best defensive teams in the country.

"I think that's been our biggest thing this year," said junior standout Nick Johnson, averaging a team-high 16.1 points. "When we get stops and get rebounds and get the push, our athleticism is really at play. I think finishing with dunks and around the basket gets everybody going.

"It's definitely one of our strong points."

While the Wildcats concluded the regular season with a 64-57 loss at Oregon, they kicked things into a higher gear Thursday.

"It kind of just refocused us a little bit," Johnson said of that defeat. "We got into practice a little bit. We had some work to get done. Just really trying to come here and get our second goal of the year.

"Our three goals were to win the regular season Pac-12 championship, come here and get this one, and then go from there."

While the Wildcats are thinking big, they first need to get by the Buffaloes (23-10). Winner in three straight in the series, Arizona beat Colorado 69-57 on Jan. 23 before cruising to an 88-61 road victory Feb. 22.

Johnson and freshman Aaron Gordon averaged a combined 18.3 points in those games as the Wildcats shot 54.7 percent and limited the Buffaloes to 35.6 percent.

Despite his team's success in the series, Miller isn't taking anything for granted.

"We're going to have our hands full," Miller said. "We're just excited that we're one of the four teams remaining in this tournament.

"When you have as many fans that have traveled the way we have to Vegas, you almost feel like it's your obligation to perform well and advance. ... I would imagine it's only going to pick up moving towards (Friday)."

Fifth-seeded Colorado could have tired legs after pulling out a pair of 59-56 wins through the first two rounds of the tournament. Junior Askia Booker had 21 points against last-place USC on Wednesday, then scored 17 in Thursday's victory over California.

"You could tell from the start that our players really wanted this game and they had that intensity about them that was pretty evident," coach Tad Boyle said.

While Colorado may have already done enough to make the NCAA tournament, beating the Wildcats would make their case even stronger.

"We're going to have to guard Arizona like they guard everybody else," Boyle said. "But the one thing about (our) guys, they're playing with a sense of purpose. ... These guys are focused. They're confident. Again, Arizona is a good team, but we're a good team too.

"I told these guys in the locker room, all you can ask for in life is an opportunity. We have an opportunity (Friday) to go play against one of the top teams in the country and prove ourselves."

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.

Pac 12
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Arizona St.0-09-02
Oregon St.0-07-3180
Wash. State0-06-3131

Related Video


CBSSports Shop

Men's Nike White Villanova Wildcats 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt

Villanova Wildcats 2016 National Champs
Get the Locker Room Gear!
Shop Now

Other Games
ILL 63 Final
STBN 71 Final
STL 68
FSU 51 Final
UVA 64
MIZZ 49 Final
FLA 72
OHST 71 Final
NEB 67
PITT 80 Final
UNC 75
RICH 53 Final
VCU 71
MINN 57 Final
HOU 65 Final
LOU 94
IAST 94 Final
KAN 83
NCST 66 Final
SYR 63
NW 51 Final
UCONN 58 Final
CLEM 62 Final
SDSU 59 Final
XAV 78 Final
BOISE 67 Final