LAS VEGAS — For a guy that will have just one season of action in the Colorado men's basketball record book, Derrick White certainly has done his part to leave a lasting impression.
The former Division II All-American once again put together a standout performance in the Buffaloes' 92-78 loss Thursday night against Arizona in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Conference tournament.
White's 31 points were the most by a CU player in the Pac-12 Conference tournament in the team's six years in the league. It also marked the second-best scoring effort by a CU player in any conference tournament, trailing only the 32 points poured in by Richard Roby against Baylor in 2008.
White also recorded six rebounds and five assists.
"I thought Derrick was terrific tonight in terms of attacking the basket and making plays for himself and others," CU coach Tad Boyle said. "But we lost this game on the defensive end. There's no doubt about it."
White became just the 14th CU player to post three 30-point games in his career, and he is the first player to do so in one season since Cory Higgins recorded three 30-point games in 2009-10.
White scored 57 points in the two conference tournament games, and his season scoring total of 585 ranks as the 11th-best single-season scoring performance in CU history. If, as expected, the Buffs receive a bid to the 32-team NIT on Sunday evening, White will have an opportunity to pass Higgins (587 points in 2009-10), Steve Wise (599 in 1989-90) and current CU radio voice Scott Wilke (601 in 1987-88) on that list.
White also posted five assists in each Pac-12 tourney game, passing Chauncey Billups (among others) for the 11th-best single-season total in team history with 142.
"These guys know we respect Derrick White as much as any player in our conference, and what he did to us tonight, and what he's done throughout the season," Arizona coach Sean Miller said. "He's an unbelievable player."
Late night hoops
Many CU fans have cited several 9 p.m. tipoff times this season as one of the reasons for a dip in attendance at the Coors Events Center. However, when asked about that issue during a meeting with the press on Thursday, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott refuted the idea the late starts are problematic.
"I've got the benefit of the perspective and history," Scott said. "The truth of the matter is our conference would not be where it's at today in men's basketball if it weren't for our TV arrangements, which include evening games. For those in the room — I see there are some — that were around in 2009, not all of our basketball games were telecast. Those that were were on FOX Sports Net. And some were telecast in local markets. That was the state of Pac-12 basketball. And, as I mentioned, we had two teams get into the NCAA Tournament my first year as commissioner.
"So to say that late start times might be hurting Pac-12 basketball does not resonate from my perspective."
George King struggled from long range for CU, going 1-for-10 on 3-pointers in the two Pac-12 tournament games...Tory Miller fouled out for the first time this season...Xavier Johnson tied Levi Knutson and Donnie Boyce for the seventh-most made 3-pointers in CU history (129)...CU hasn't defeated Arizona away from Boulder since the 2012 Pac-12 championship game. The Buffs have lost nine of their past 10 games against the Wildcats.