TUCSON, Ariz. — Technically the Colorado Buffaloes men's basketball team still didn't reach its goal of outrebounding its foes by a margin of at least plus-8, extending that particular streak to eight games.
However, the 38-32 advantage posted by the Buffs against an Arizona team that starts two 7-footers certainly was a positive sign in the team's 82-73 loss Saturday night at No. 17 Arizona.
"We'll take this rebounding effort," CU coach Tad Boyle said. "You outrebound Arizona by six in their building, it shows you something because they're difficult with their size and their toughness. I was pleased with everything except the free throw disparity and the turnovers."
George King led the effort on the glass by recording his fifth double-double of the season, finishing with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Five of those boards came at the offensive end, contributing to CU's 18-10 advantage on second-chance points.
Senior Wesley Gordon, the Buffs' leading rebounder, added nine rebounds to eclipse the eight he managed in CU's first two Pac-12 Conference games combined.
In addition to crediting the disciplined defense typically played by Arizona, Boyle offered another explanation for a free throw disparity in which his Buffs shot only 14 while the host Wildcats attempted 33, making 26.
"Their fans give them some calls. Their coach gives them some calls," said Boyle, who drew a technical foul in the first half after slamming his fist on the scorer's table. "I'm just being real. But that's not to take anything away from how good they are defensively. You just have to overcome that when you're on the road and understand it's going to be called differently night in and night out, and sometimes that's going to go your way. And many times, especially in this building, it's not. You have to overcome that."
After having an opportunity to thoroughly review the play that resulted in Xavier Johnson's ejection late in the first half Thursday at Arizona State, Boyle remained chagrined his team's second-leading scorer was dismissed from the floor. Johnson and ASU's Jethro Tshisumpa both were ejected after being assessed Flagrant 2 fouls following a skirmish under the basket heavy on shoving and jawing but little more.
"I felt it should have been a double-technical and play on," Boyle said. "(Johnson) didn't throw a punch. There was some pushing and shoving and maybe a little jawing, but there were no punches thrown."
Given Saturday's game marked the start of the second half of the schedule for Arizona, Wildcats fans were crossing fingers in hopes that would mark the return of sophomore Allonzo Trier, who has been suspended the entire season for reasons the school has not disclosed. However Trier remained sidelined against the Buffs.
After the 4-for-5 start from 3-point range the Buffs went just 5-for-24 the rest of the way...Derrick White has committed 10 turnovers in the past two games after recording just 11 in the previous six games...King's 2-for-5 showing on 3-pointers marked the first time he has connected on multiple 3-pointers since he went 3-for-4 against Xavier on Dec. 7...Josh Fortune went 0-for-8 on 3-pointers during the Buffs' 0-3 road trip.