TUSCON, Ariz. (AP) – Brandon Williams had 14 points and six assists to lead a balanced Arizona attack and the Wildcats opened defense of their Pac-12 regular-season title with a 64-56 victory over Colorado on Thursday night.
Brandon Randolph had 11 points and freshman Devonaire Doutrive tied a season high with eight for the Wildcats, who were without starting guard Justin Coleman most of the way because of an undisclosed injury.
Coleman, who came in averaging 10.1 points and was second on the team with 41 assists, played four minutes in the first half and missed his only field goal attempt.
McKinley Wright IV had 17 points and six rebounds and Lucas Siewert had 11 points for the Buffaloes (9-4, 0-1), who have lost three of their last four. Tyler Bey had 11 rebounds.
Arizona (10-4, 1-0) did not lead for the first nine minutes before rallying. Williams had seven points and Doutrive had six as the Wildcats closed the first half on a 26-13 run for a 39-24 halftime lead and never again trailed.
Colorado trimmed a 17-point deficit to 57-50 on D’Shawn Schwartz’s 3-pointer with 2:47 remaining before Randolph hit a layup to halt the rally.
Chase Jeter had seven points, eight rebounds and two blocks for Arizona, which is an NCAA Division I-best 90-4 at home since the start of the 2013-14 season.
Colorado had not played since Dec. 25 and Arizona had not played since Dec. 22. The rust seemed to show at the offensive end as Colorado shot 35.8 percent with 17 turnovers and Arizona shot 43.1 percent.
Arizona’s Ira Lee had five points and three rebounds in 13 minutes. He spent Dec. 23 in jail after pleading guilty to driving under the influence last summer.
Arizona: A perennial favorite to win the Pac-12, the Wildcats were the first conference team to 10 wins this season and have won eight of nine at home, which bodes well in what appears to be a wide-open league race, especially now that Oregon top freshman Bol Bol is out for the season.
Colorado: The Buffaloes have not played a Top-25 team this season, and they did not play well in the Pac-12 opener. At the same time, they are the only team in the league with as many two true road victories in nonconference play.
Arizona will play host to Utah at noon Saturday, a quick turnaround. Arizona is 12-1 against the Utes since they joined the Pac-12 in 2011, including a victory on its way 2018 Pac-12 tournament title, and is 6-0 at McKale Center.
Colorado will make the 110-mile trip up I-10 to face Arizona State on Saturday. Colorado won two of three against the Sun Devils last season, winning in Tempe and again in the Pac-12 tournament, where a late dunk after the game was decided led to an on-court scuffle.
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