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Monday, January 23,2012

Buffs defeat Arizona with solid defense

By Matt Sparkman

The 2011-12 edition of Colorado basketball may not be as talented as their predecessors in 2010-11, but Alec Burks and Cory Higgins would have had a hard time pulling off a victory against Arizona on Saturday.

Where last years‘ Buffs relied on their outstanding offense, these Buffaloes lean on their rock-solid defense and rebounding. That’s exactly how they won on Saturday, taking a 64-63 decision from the Wildcats, in front of an over-capacity crowd at Coors Event Center.

“We knew coming in that it was going to be a dogfight,” said head coach Tad Boyle. “Arizona is a well-coached, tough, experienced team. We knew we would have to play well to beat them, and we played well enough.”

It wasn’t smooth sailing for the Buffaloes, as it had been in their first four Pac-12 home games. Star forward Andre Roberson struggled, scoring no points on 0-8 shooting.

Senior guard Carlon Brown carried the Buffs offensively, registering 19 points, including the game’s last three points, with a top of the key three-pointer with 1:16 remaining in regulation.

Arizona responded by drawing a questionable foul on Nate Tomlinson, sending Josh Fogg to the line for one and one. Fogg missed the front end, giving the Buffs a chance to take a two-possession lead.

The Buffs used the shot clock in their last offensive possession, but CU didn’t get a good look, as Brown shot a contested three with about thirty seconds left in the game.

The Wildcats grabbed the rebound and passed the ball around the perimeter, looking for the open man vital second ticked off the clock. Nick Johnson passed up a decent look, kicking to Kevin Parrom, who fired an airball. Arizona collected the loose ball as time expired, giving CU their fifth Pac-12 win.

Colorado heads to southern California next week, playing USC Thursday and UCLA on Saturday.

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