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Arizona men’s basketball routs Colorado in final Pac-12 home opener

arizona-wildcats-mens-basketball-colorado-buffaloes-final-score-highlights-stats-updates-2024-pac12 Zachary BonDurant-USA TODAY Sports

How’s that for a response?

10th-ranked Arizona followed up its worst performance of the season with one of its most dominant, steamrolling Colorado 97-50 on Thursday night to open its final slate of Pac-12 home games.

It was the largest margin of victory in conference play since 1997, the 15th straight win in Tucson over the Buffaloes and improved the Wildcats to 12-0 under Tommy Lloyd in games immediately after a regular-season loss, winning by an average of 25.4 points.

Four days removed from giving up 100 points and 16 3-pointers in a blowout loss at Stanford, the UA (11-3, 2-1 Pac-12) held the conference’s top perimeter shooting team to 4 of 15 on 3s and 36.4 percent overall. Arizona shot 56.3 percent and made 11 of 20 3s, with Kylan Boswell tying a career high with four triples in a 14-point effort.

Pelle Larsson had 18, Caleb Love 16 and Motiejus Krivas 15—four more than any Colorado player—along with nine rebounds in 17 minutes off the bench.

The UA built a double-digit lead less than four minutes in and kept the foot on the gas, getting the margin to 20 before the halfway mark of the first half. The Wildcats led 50-23 at the half, their eighth 50-spot of the season, and remained aggressive on both ends of the court in the second half, shooting 62.5 percent.

Colorado (11-3, 2-1) was missing two key starters in forward Tristan da Silva and wing Cody Williams, but it swept the Washington schools at home without them last weekend behind big games from guard KJ Simpson. The ex-UA signee had a major dud this time, though, going 5 of 17 from the field for 10 points and had eight of the Buffs’ 18 turnovers that Arizona converted into 25 points.

Arizona came out shooting like Stanford, making eight of its first 11 shots. Much of that was during an 18-2 run that included a pair of Boswell 3s and two layups by Krivas while Eddie Lampkin Jr. was on the bench. Lampkin had to sit after being called for his second foul just over three minutes into the game, but one of those fouls was taken away at the media timeout but he couldn’t get back in until the Wildcats had scored eight in a row with freshman Assane Diop on the court for the Buffs.

Lampkin got that second foul with 7:30 left in the first half on a charge drawn by Larsson, who a minute early hit Arizona’s second banked-in 3 of the period to make it 36-15. That was followed by the UA forcing a 5-second call on a baseline inbounds after an official reversed an out-of-bounds call in favor of the Wildcats.

After hitting 3 of its first 4 shots, Colorado didn’t make back-to-back baskets for another 10 minutes, but by that point Arizona had almost as many points off turnovers as the Buffs did overall. The last of those first-half scores off a takeaway saw Boswell put some sick english on a full-court pass to Larsson for a layup.

The game go so lopsided so quick that Tad Boyle used three timeouts in the first half and the normally pacing Buffs coach sat most of the final 10 minutes before halftime and most of the second half.

Arizona continues the weekend homestand Saturday evening against Utah.