Solid defense doesn’t help CU Buffs late in loss at No. 11 Arizona

TUCSON, Ariz. — Sometimes even when the defense comes through, the opposition finds a way to knock down the critical shot.

That happened to the Colorado Buffaloes twice in the waning minutes of an 80-71 loss Thursday night at Arizona. A layup by freshman Tyler Bey kept CU within three points with 2 minutes, 50 seconds remaining, but unfortunately for the Buffs their solid defense afterward proved of no consequence.

On Arizona’s next possession, freshman McKinley Wright played dogged defense against Arizona standout guard Allonzo Trier, only to grimace in frustration after Trier’s 3-pointer near the end of the shot clock splashed through.

A similar incident occurred moments later with the Buffs trailing by five. CU senior Dom Collier nearly recorded a steal against Arizona guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright, only to watch Jackson-Cartwright retrieve the loose ball and drain a 3-pointer at the shot clock buzzer. Those 3-poiners highlighted a 9-2 run by the Wildcats following Bey’s layup that iced the win for Arizona.

“Allonzo Trier and Parker hit two tough threes that really stung,” Wright said. “I think I played great defense on Trier. He hit a better shot. Parker lost his dribble and still hit a tough three on Dom. It was frustrating, but there’s nothing you can do about it really.”

Another Namon nightmare

After going scoreless with just one rebound in last week’s loss against Washington, it was another tough night for junior guard Namon Wright. This time foul trouble was the biggest culprit, with Namon Wright playing only five minutes in the first half after picking up a pair of fouls.

Namon Wright picked up his third foul just 20 seconds into the second half and played only four more minutes the rest of the way.

“It just wasn’t his night, and Laz (Nikolic) was playing really good for us down the stretch,” CU coach Tad Boyle said. “We went with a smaller lineup and it just wasn’t Namon’s night.”

Wright finished with four points and no rebounds in 10 minutes.


“I try to block that stuff out. This is always raucous environment. What happens happens, it’s water under the bridge and I’m moving on from that.”

— Boyle, on any jeers directed his way due to his “Hell yes” comment after the Buffs’ win against Arizona on Jan. 6


Since it was UA’s first home game since Kevin Sumlin was named the school’s new head football coach, Sumlin was introduced at halftime and gave a short speech to the crowd of 14,644…It was a tough night for Lucas Siewert. The sophomore forward picked up his first two fouls within 56 seconds of entering the game, and in the second half he appeared to aggravate an ankle injury…After committing a whopping 22 turnovers in a loss at USC on Jan. 10, the Buffs have averaged 9.5 turnovers over the past four games…Bey recorded three steals for the first time in his young career.

Pat Rooney: or