Four Arizona players scored in double figures as the No. 6 Wildcats pulled away in the second half and snapped Colorado’s five-game winning streak with a 76-55 decision on Thursday night in Tucson, Ariz.
Arizona (13-1, 3-0 Pac-12) outscored Colorado 44-27 after halftime as the Buffaloes (11-4, 3-2) shot just 32.8 percent for the game.
The Wildcats’ balanced offensive effort included 14 points each from Azuolas Tubelis and Justin Kier. Bennedict Mathurin added 13 points, while Pelle Larsson put in 12. Christian Koloko had a team-high nine rebounds to go with seven points, while second-year guard Kerr Kriisa handed out a career-best 10 assists.
Colorado’s K.J. Simpson, who signed with the Wildcats last fall but was let out of his letter of intent after Arizona fired coach Sean Miller in the spring, scored a career-high 17 points, including 14 in the first half. Evan Battey contributed nine points and seven rebounds.
Jabari Walker, the Buffaloes’ leading scorer at 13.4 points per game, picked up two early fouls and was never a factor. He finished with four points.
Arizona’s lead was only 34-30 two minutes into the second half before Tubelis fueled a 15-4 run. He scored eight points during that flurry, including his fifth 3-pointer of the season, as the Wildcats roared to a 49-34 edge with 14:02 to go.
Colorado managed to get back within 53-43 but couldn’t string together a key run as Arizona stayed hot. The Wildcats shot 56.7 percent (17 of 30) in the second half.
Arizona raced to an 11-2 lead, holding Colorado without a basket for almost the first six minutes. The lead went to 19-6 when Koloko scored in the paint to cap an 8-0 run with 10:44 to go, and Arizona eventually pushed to a 25-10 advantage.
But the Buffaloes regrouped by stopping Arizona in transition and forcing the rest of the half to be played at their favored deliberate pace. Simpson took over on offense, attacking the basket and scoring 10 points in a 16-4 run that cut the lead to 29-26.
Arizona took a 32-28 lead into halftime.