Missed opportunities doom Arizona Wildcats in 64-63 loss to Colorado Buffaloes

Blame the mile-high(ish) elements or blame the Arizona Wildcats themselves.

Either way, blame missed free throws for the Wildcats' 64-63 loss to the Colorado Buffaloes on Saturday night in Boulder, Colo.

Tired legs possibly failing Arizona, it was two missed free throws in the final three minutes that doomed Sean Miller's club against the Buffs. And painfully as it might be for the Wildcats to admit, it was leaders Solomon Hill and Kyle Fogg who didn't take advantage of the shots that could have given UA the lead or at least the tie in a down-to-the-wire affair.

No, an air-balled 3-pointer by forward Kevin Parrom during Arizona's final play wasn't a bad option; tired legs could also have sent the ball sailing a foot long for Parrom. But Arizona doesn't need a go-to guy because they have nobody to go to work on an isolation play on a final possession.

Arizona needs a go-to player to make one-and-one free throws down the stretch.

Jesse Perry paced Arizona with 20 points and 10 rebounds, and Hill had 10 and 10 on the night.

With 2:51 remaining and the game tied at 61, Hill missed an free throw after being fouled on a layup in an opportunity to give Arizona the lead. A Parrom jumper with 1:39 gave UA its final points before CU guard Carlon Brown, who dropped 19 points, drilled a 3-pointer 20 seconds later to give the Buffs the 64-63 lead they needed to win.

Fogg, who scored 16 points but went 3-for-12 from the field, hit 8-of-8 free throws until his final foul shot that hit the front of the rim with 1:01 remaining in the game.

Two missed shots led to three missed points, and a 34.5 percent shooting clip on the night didn't give Arizona any room for those errors.

Arizona got off to a hot start, leading 39-35 at the half while shooting 42.9 percent from the field. But it got uglier from there -- the Wildcats only hit 25.9 percent of their shots in the second half, and it wasn't enough as Colorado shot 40.7 percent for the game.

Now, Arizona's postseason chances hang by a thread, and it's likely they'll need to earn it by way of a Pac-12 Tournament championship.

But why, then, is this team just not that good?

Arizona isn't athletic enough, fast enough, big enough or a skilled enough shooting team. While Perry and Hill dominated the glass based on effort, the Wildcats' defense only had two blocks and just two steals against Colorado, and throughout the Buffs made them look unathletic, physically weak and slow afoot.

The Buffaloes only turned the ball over six times, a number that is due to experience and solid play themselves. It was also aided by Arizona's containing style of defense rather than anything that could be described as stifling.

It was proof that while Miller's coaching will always get a team far, it can't make up for its lack of finishers, both in shooting the basketball and at the end of the game.

  • Point guard Josiah Turner had one of his better halves of the season in the first against CU. He scored seven points and tallied three assists in working with Perry well off of screen and rolls. But the freshman only scored two and recorded no assists in the second half.
  • The Wildcats had hardly any production off the bench aside from Parrom's six points, five rebounds and two assists. The remaining four players who saw time (Brendon Lavender, Kyryl Natyazhko, Jordin Mayes and Angelo Chol) combined for zero points and two rebounds while shooting for 0-for-8 shooting.
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