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Arizona men’s basketball rolls past Colorado to complete mountain road sweep

arizona-wildcats-mens-basketball-colorado-buffaloes-recap-final-score-stats-highlights-pac12-2024 Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The path to another Pac-12 regular-season championship will go through Tucson, but Arizona’s play on the road has become a key part of the journey.

The Wildcats completed their first road sweep of the Rocky Mountain schools in nine years with a nearly wire-to-wire 99-79 win at Colorado on Saturday night, their fifth consecutive victory overall and third in a row on the road after dropping three straight away games.

All three of those road wins have come against teams that were previously unbeaten at home.

No. 8 Arizona (19-5, 10-3) maintained its one-game lead atop the Pac-12 standings by showing no ill effects from Thursday’s triple-overtime win at Utah. The Wildcats trailed for only 2:29, all of that coming before the first media timeout, and led by double digits for the final 19-plus minutes against a Colorado team that was 13-0 at Coors Events Center.

Caleb Love had 19 points, Pelle Larsson 18, Oumar Ballo 16 (with 13 rebounds for his fourth straight double-double) and Jaden Bradley 14 off the bench as Arizona shot 52.9 percent overall and made 10 of 22 3-pointers. The Wildcats turned 16 Colorado turnovers into 23 points and had 23 second-chance points.

Colorado (16-8, 7-6) allowed its most points at home since 2017 and has given up 196 in two games against Arizona, which crushed the Buffs 97-50 at McKale Center in January.

Arizona shot 51.6 percent and made 5 of 9 3s to lead 47-40 at halftime. The Wildcats made 3s on the first two possessions at the break and scored on their first three trips down the floor, and a Love 3 after a Larsson 3-point play capped a 10-0 run to make it 65-45 with 14:54 left.

With the big lead, Tommy Lloyd was able to rest some starters as he got Filip Borovicanin and Conrad Martinez into the game before the under-12 timeout. Martinez immediately got a steal, and later had a blow-by layup to make it 73-53 with 10:05 remaining.

Colorado cut it to 77-63 with 7:48 to go after Larsson got his fourth foul, but Boswell drained a 3 on a second-chance opportunity on the ensuing possession.

Down 8-2 early after a turnover on an inbounds play, Arizona collected itself and scored 11 in a row to take the lead and hold it the rest of the first half. Seven of those were by Boswell, including a deep 3.

The Wildcats were up 18-10 when Colorado scored seven in a row, but Arizona was up nine four minutes later and got the lead to double digits on a steal and reverse by Bradley, who was 6 of 9 from the field and added three steals.

Larsson’s stepback 3 gave the UA a 37-26 lead with 4:13 left in the first half, and the Wildcats led by at least seven the rest of the half.

Arizona is off until next Saturday when it hosts ASU, the first of three in a row at McKale. The UA is 12-0 at home this season.