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3 up, 3 down in Arizona’s victory over Colorado

Some positives and negatives from UA’s Pac-12 opener

NCAA Basketball: UC Davis at Arizona Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Wildcats (10-4) started conference play on the right foot, taking down the Colorado Buffaloes 64-56 on Thursday in their Pac-12 opener.

Our full recap can be read here, and here are some positives and negatives from UA’s win.

3 Up

Brandons carry the load

Brandon Williams was forced to move to the point due to Justin Coleman’s injury. The freshman guard rose to the challenge.

Williams had a game-high six assists against just two turnovers. He also led the Wildcats in scoring with 14 points.

Brandon Randolph was the only other Wildcat to score in double figures. He had 11 points on 50 percent shooting.

Doutrive stands out in limited playing time

Devonaire Doutrive hasn’t seen a lot of playing time this season. His stat line shows it. The freshman guard averaged 2.7 points per game coming into conference play. He had only appeared in seven games.

Doutrive was one of the beneficiaries of Coleman’s limitations. He matched his career high in points (8) scored while setting a new high in minutes (12).

His points made him Arizona’s third-leading scorer on the night. Doutrive also pulled down four boards, three of them on the offensive end. That placed him second on the team behind only Chase Jeter.

Arizona holds court while others fall

It’s always a good day when the Sun Devils lose, but it was especially helpful Thursday night. With a conference that’s so bad that almost anyone can win it, the Wildcats need to protect their home court. Doing so while teams ahead of them stumble is just gravy.

There’s a long way to go before the end of the season, but Arizona has no time to waste after an uninspiring non-conference slate. They need to build their resume now.

The Wildcats just need to look better than the other teams in the conference. It’s not unreasonable to think the Pac-12 could get only one or two teams into the NCAA Tournament this year. A comfortable win over Colorado helps Arizona. A home court loss by the conference’s top-rated team does, too.

3 Down

Coleman’s injury

While Coleman did put in an appearance, it was short and relatively uneventful. The status of the Wildcats’ starting point guard could have repercussions if the injury limits him for an extended period. The conference is wide open due to its extreme mediocrity, but Arizona will need all hands on deck to get into the NCAA tournament.

Coleman hasn’t been dominant this season. He averages 10.1 points per game, but that stat is inflated by the four games in which he scored double figures. He hasn’t broken the 10-point barrier since Dec. 6 against Utah Valley. He averaged 6.3 points in the four games prior to Pac-12 play.

He averages 3.2 assists per game. That’s good for fifteenth in the conference and second on the team.

All of that said, Coleman takes pressure off Williams. With the grad transfer on the floor, the freshman has more time off the ball.

Coleman also tends to make good decisions. He has a 1.8 assist-to-turnover ratio and shoots 46.7 percent from the field. He leads the team with his 41.9 percentage from 3.

What happened in the second half?

The Wildcats went cold in the second half. The team shot a blistering 51.6 percent in the first half. They went 4 for 8 from the three-point line and were on pace to score almost 80 points.

Then, the second half happened.

In the final 20 minutes of the game, Arizona scored only 25 points. Going 9 for 27 will do that. The Wildcats shot only 10 percent from beyond the arc and missed three of their nine free throw attempts.


Colorado outrebounded Arizona 36 to 30. On the offensive end, the Buffaloes pulled down ten boards, while Arizona corralled eight.

This marks the sixth time this season the Wildcats have lost the battle on the boards. They have lost four of those contests.