Fast break

What went right: CU committed only seven turnovers and went 22-for-26 at the free throw line.

What went wrong: The Buffs' defense was lagging, particularly in the second half. Arizona shot 64 percent after halftime and finished with a .556 mark from the floor.

Star of the game: Derrick White. White's 31 points trails only a 32-point effort by Richard Roby in 2008 among CU scoring efforts in a conference tournament. White went 9-for-9 on free throws and also recorded six rebounds and five assists.

What's next: The Buffs will have to wait until Sunday evening to learn if their season will continue in the NIT.

LAS VEGAS — The blueprint was familiar. And, unfortunately for the Colorado Buffaloes, so was the result.

CU's battle against No. 7-ranked Arizona on Thursday in the Pac-12 Conference quarterfinals bore a similar script as the teams' regular season battle in January, with the Buffs simply falling into too deep a hole against a team that can reel off game-changing runs in the blink of an eye.

The result was a 92-78 defeat for the Buffs that may or may not end CU's season. Well out of NCAA Tournament consideration, the Buffs will have to wait until Sunday evening to learn if their season will continue in the NIT.

It was the second year in a row and fourth time in five seasons the Wildcats have eliminated CU from the Pac-12 tournament.


"There's nothing to be ashamed of when you lose to a team like Arizona. They're a legitimate top-10 team in the country," CU head coach Tad Boyle said. "I think they showed it tonight. I thought our guys really competed, especially that first half. The second half the game got away from us a little bit."

CU trailed by just a point at halftime but Arizona opened the second half with an 11-0 run, eventually building an 18-point lead the Buffs could never overcome. In Tucson in January, the Buffs also enjoyed a strong start before falling behind by 20 early in the second half. While CU battled to within five points with three minutes remaining in that regular-season showdown, the Buffs never got closer than nine points after Arizona's 11-0 run on Thursday.

CU went scoreless for the first 4 minutes, 24 seconds of the second half. While the Buffs committed only seven turnovers against Arizona's relentless defensive pressure along the perimeter, they shot just .393 from the floor while going 8-for-25 from 3-point range.

Arizona shot .556, including a red-hot 64 percent after halftime. The Wildcats had five players score in double figures while going 10-for-19 on 3-pointers.

"They had very few mental breakdowns as a team, which makes it very hard for their opponents to score on them," CU junior George King said.

If it indeed was a season-ending result for CU, it was a memorable final performance for senior guard Derrick White, the former Division II All-American who broke out as a Pac-12 human highlight reel in his first and only season with the Buffs. White finished with 31 points, the best total by a CU player in the Pac-12 tournament and the program's second-highest scoring effort in a conference tournament game. White also finished with six rebounds and five assists while going 9-for-9 at the free throw line.

CU senior Xavier Johnson recorded 20 points and seven rebounds, sharing the team lead with King.

"I thought we took some quick shots and they didn't go in. When you take quick jump shots and they don't go in, it puts a lot of pressure on your defense," Boyle said. "It let them get out in transition. We didn't get any stops during in that time (early in the second half) so the game got away from us pretty quick.

"We could never string together a series of stops that we needed to do in the second half. When you let Arizona's defense get set, they're pretty good."

Pat Rooney: or


COLORADO (19-14)

Gordon 1-4 1-2 3, Collier 1-5 1-2 3, King 3-8 5-5 11, White 9-19 9-9 31, Johnson 7-17 4-4 20, Siewert 0-1 0-0 0, Miller 1-1 1-2 3, Fortune 1-4 1-2 4, Brown 1-2 0-0 3. Totals 24-61 22-26 78.

ARIZONA (28-4)

Markkanen 5-9 6-7 20, Ristic 7-8 1-4 15, Alkins 5-8 2-2 15, Allen 3-6 6-8 13, Trier 6-12 6-7 19, Pinder 0-0 0-0 0, Comanche 2-5 0-0 4, Simmons 1-4 0-0 2, Jackson-Cartwright 1-2 1-2 4. Totals 30-54 22-30 92.

Halftime — Arizona 38-37. 3-Point Goals — Colorado 8-25 (White 4-10, Johnson 2-5, Brown 1-1, Fortune 1-3, Collier 0-2, King 0-4), Arizona 10-19 (Markkanen 4-7, Alkins 3-4, Allen 1-2, Jackson-Cartwright 1-2, Trier 1-4). Fouled Out — Miller. Rebounds — Colorado 32 (King, Johnson 7), Arizona 32 (Ristic 8). Assists — Colorado 10 (White 5), Arizona 17 (Jackson-Cartwright 7). Total Fouls — Colorado 22, Arizona 20. Technicals — Colorado team.