Sun, 23 Feb 2020

No. 20 Colorado puts experience to test vs. young Arizona

Field Level Media
18 Jan 2020, 04:19 GMT+10

Colorado's experience will go against Arizona's freshman standouts in Saturday's Pac-12 game at Tucson.

The 20th-ranked Buffaloes (14-3, 3-1 Pac-12) feature 11 juniors and seniors on their roster while Arizona's top three performers are all freshmen -- point guard Nico Mannion, shooting guard Josh Green and forward Zeke Nnaji.

Colorado's junior tandem of Tyler Bey and McKinley Wright IV combine to average 26.8 points and 15.0 rebounds per game. Bey had 19 points and eight rebounds and Wright had 11 points, five rebounds and four assists in the Buffaloes' 68-61 win over Arizona State on Thursday, their first win at Tempe since 2012.

"Colorado is very, very experienced," Arizona coach Sean Miller said after the Wildcats beat Utah 93-77 on Thursday. "They have a couple of guys on this year's team who are multiple-year starters.

"McKinley Wright at the point guard position is obviously an excellent college basketball player. Tyler Bey, I've really liked him as far back as when he was a freshman. I think he's one of college basketball's best all-around rebounders."

Lucas Siewert, a senior, contributed 14 points against the Sun Devils on 4-of-6 shooting from 3-point range.

Nnaji, Mannion and Green are the only players averaging in double-digit scoring on the team. Nnaji leads the team averaging 16.9 points and 8.5 rebounds a game. Mannion is posting 14.1 points and 6.2 assists per game. Green is at 12.7 points and 5.2 rebounds a game.

The Wildcats (12-5, 2-2) bounced back against Utah after getting swept at the Oregon schools last weekend, dropping them out of the rankings in the process.

Nnaji had 24 points and eight rebounds against Arizona State. Graduate transfer guard Max Hazzard scored 24 points on 6-of-10 shooting from 3-point range.

"Arizona is the toughest place to play in the Pac-12, without a doubt," Colorado coach Tad Boyle said. "We know that. But our guys, they love challenges. It's just time to go down there and let it all hang out and compete."

Colorado has not won at Tucson since a triple-overtime 77-73 victory on Dec. 20, 1965, at the old Bear Down Gym on the Arizona campus. The Buffaloes have lost nine straight games against the Wildcats in Tucson.

One of Arizona's seniors, Chase Jeter, did not play against Utah because of back spasms. It is not certain when he will return. That forced a lineup change with Cornell graduate transfer Stone Gettings starting in his place. Gettings finished with seven points and two rebounds in 28 minutes.

"Stone, number one, is a winner," Miller said. "He is a great, great kid, very high character. It's just been very impressive to watch him receive the facial fracture (on Nov. 29) that he got, a bad concussion, and kind of work through that (after missing five games)."

The Wildcats did not miss Jeter against Utah as they shot 47.8 percent from the field, including 51.7 from 3-point range, highlighted by Hazzard's performance.

Arizona will need its frontcourt to be ready against the active Bey, who had 18 of his 19 points after halftime at Arizona State.

--Field Level Media

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