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3 up, 3 down in Arizona’s loss to Colorado

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arizona-wildcats-recap-oregon-ducks-osu-beavers-college-basketball-analysis Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The misery continues.

The Arizona Wildcats (14-12, 5-8) dropped their seventh straight game on Sunday, falling to the Colorado Buffaloes 67-60 in Boulder.

It is Arizona’s longest streak since the 1982-83 season, the same year the Wildcats went 6-24. Our full recap can be found here, while below are three positives and three negatives that came from Sunday’s game:

Up

Ryan Luther

Luther was a big reason why Arizona struggled defensively (more on that in a second), but his offensive output was undeniable. The senior had a game-high 17 points, draining four 3s, including three in the first half.

The Pitt transfer has really hit a hot streak lately, going 11 for 24 from 3 in his last three games. Unfortunately it has all been in a losing effort.

Dylan Smith

Smith was Arizona’s other offensive standout, dropping 16 points on a very nice 6-of-9 shooting. Like Luther, Smith was hot from 3, going 4 for 6 from distance.

Smith mostly avoided the head-scratching mistakes that he is usually prone to making, though he didn’t quite rebound like he usually does, only grabbing one in 31 minutes.

3-point shooting

Offense, surprisingly, was not Arizona’s problem in this game, averaging a hair over 1 point per possession. That was almost all because it shot well from 3, going 8 for 21 from distance.

Well, I should say it was all because Smith and Luther shot well from 3. The rest of the team went 0 for 6 from distance.

Down

Free throw shooting

What is worse: only getting to the free throw line 10 times or missing 60 percent of your free throws? Well, you don’t have to choose because Arizona did both!

The Wildcats went just 4 for 10 from the charity stripe, missing four free throws in the final six and a half minutes, killing any shot at a comeback. Only this Arizona team could shoot a lower percentage from the free throw line than the field.

The Wildcats already have an extremely small margin for error to begin with, so missing freebies is a good way to ensure that this losing streak will continue.

And what has happened to Brandon Randolph’s shooting? He made 90 percent of his free throws in non-conference play, but is only shooting 65 percent from the stripe in Pac-12 play. It’s one thing to struggle from the field against an actual defense — which he is also doing — but it’s something else to suddenly go from being an elite free throw shooter to a bad one.

Defense

Remember when Arizona was a solid defensive team? Yeah, about that.

Colorado shot 56 percent from the field and 36 percent from 3 in this one. The Buffaloes also shot 60 percent in the first half and finished with 15 dunks/layups. The Wildcats’ guards were continually beaten off the dribble — to be fair, McKinley Wright is pretty good — and the bigs offered no resistance in the paint.

Arizona’s defense now ranks 70th in the country, per KenPom. At one point, which now seems like a decade ago, the Wildcats were in the top 30.

Chase Jeter

Jeter has not looked the same since returning from his back injury, and the numbers back (get it?) that up. The big man is only averaging 7.4 points and 6.2 rebounds per game since returning against ASU on Jan. 31.

While the 10 points and eight rebounds he posted against Colorado wasn’t his worst game, he also shot just 5 for 11 from the field, missing a bunch of shots at the rim, looking timid.

Jeter hasn’t been able to avoid foul trouble the last two games, either. He committed five in 23 minutes against Utah and four in 28 minutes against Colorado.