The Arizona Wildcats held off a stingy Colorado Buffaloes in their quarter-final victory. Colorado outscored the 15th ranked Wildcats in the second half but still lost 82-78.
Arizona opens up big lead
This game was a tale of two halves. In the opening 20 minutes, Arizona jumped out to a big lead, going on a 13-2 run to start the game. A big part of this reason was because of the size and strength of Kaleb Tarczewski and Ryan Anderson. They pounded the glass on the offensive and defensive side of the glass and got key blocks as well.
But Colorado did stat to come back a little bit thanks to Josh Scott. He scored his school's first six points of the game as they cut Arizona's lead to eight in the middle of the half. Anderson stole the ball from George King at the 8 minute mark. He found a streaking Parker Jackson-Cartwright with an accurate pass. PJC then proceeded to drain a big three pointer to extend Arizona's lead back to double digits.
From then, the Tucson-based school increased their lead. Allonzo Trier got involved in the action a minute later by hitting his first bucket of the game - a three. This was good for his confidence considering the fact that he had missed a couple of shots earlier. He finished the game as the leading scorer with 23 points on 6-11 shooting from the field. When the half came to an end, Arizona had opened up a 17 point lead and it looked as if they would cruise the rest of the way.
Colorado's comeback falls short
In the early part of the second half, it looked as if Arizona could step off the gas peddle. Kaleb Tarczewski made his first two free throws of the half and extended the Wildcats' lead to 19. Tad Boyle's squad though, never went away. They drove to the hoop more often with Josh Scott, Thomas Akyazili and King leading the charge. Scott hauled down a rebound and immediately scored with a tip-dunk. Then, Akyazili stole the ball away from Gabe York and getting an easy lay-up down the other end of the court.
Colorado continued to get easy offensive rebounds to keep the ball in the offensive side of the court. This gave them more chances to score and kept Colorado in the game. As a whole, the Buffaloes attempted 76 total shots -- 28 more than Arizona. Yet, they still did not make that many shots, just 22, and made only 5 three-pointers off of 19 attempts.
While they could never come back to tie the game, Colorado made Arizona sweat. With less than 30 seconds to go, Josh Fortune missed a shot from deep. Tre'Shaun Fletcher got the rebound and Fortune got a second chance and drained his shot this time. This cut Arizona's lead to four points but that was as close as they would get to trying to tie things up.
The first semi-final is now set as the Arizona Wildcats will play the Oregon Ducks tomorrow night.