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February 14, 2013

No. 9 Wildcats dealt first back-to-back skid

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In a hostile environment and staring into a Colorado crowd that had revenge on its mind, ninth-ranked Arizona never answered the bell Thursday night in Boulder, Colo.

Spencer Dinwiddie scored 21 points, Xavier Johnson added 19 and the Buffaloes finished the job this time around for a 71-58 win over the Wildcats at Coors Events Center.

The final margin did not tell the entire story on a night Arizona (20-4, Pac-12 Conference) lost back-to-back games for the first time this season and never matched the intensity of a team that did not forget the controversial Jan. 3 loss in Tucson. UA shot 42.3 percent, and the senior trio of Mark Lyons, Solomon Hill and Kevin Parrom combined on an 11-of-31 effort.

Hill paced the 'Cats with 12 points, while sophomore Nick Johnson scored below double figures for a fourth consecutive game and finish with nine points on 3 of 5 shots.

But the night was just as much about what the Buffaloes (17-7, 7-5 Pac-12), winners of six of their last seven, were able to do to a UA defense that resorted to a 2-3 zone on one possession.

Dinwiddie - who was coming off a 6-of-6 shooting performance against Oregon State - made 5 of 9 shots and scored 19 of his points after halftime. He also added nine assists for CU, which shot 59.1 percent in the second half.

Johnson's 3-point shooting was just as important. The freshman made 4 of 5 from beyond the arc - 7 of 9 overall - and the team converted 9 of 17 3-pointers for the game.

Trailing by seven at the half, Arizona's cold shooting carried over out of the break while Colorado came out with a flurry. The Buffs scored the first eight points, ignited by a Brandon Ashley foul while Dinwiddie was shooting a 3-pointer.

The Wildcats, like they have against double-digit deficits all season, made a run. Grant Jerrett's 3-pointer with 10:59 remaining cut the deficit to six, but the Buffs responded with eight quick points to push the advantage back up to 53-39 in the span of 90 seconds.

UA closed within single digits on two other occasions - the last on Parrom's basket to make the score 60-51 with 4:59 to play - but never made another serious threat.

In a physical first half, both teams started slow and neither could create much separation throughout most of the action.

But tied at 20, Colorado closed the half on a 10-3 run to take a 30-23 lead into the break. One sequence that defined the first 20 minutes was a bounce pass in the halfcourt set from Sabatino Chen to Andre Roberson for an easy dunk just before the half. Arizona, meanwhile was held below 35 percent shooting and had little flow.

Tracy McDannaldTracy McDannald
GOAZCATS.com Senior Editor

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