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No. 10 Arizona draws tough Colorado after stunning loss


Arizona’s unbeaten eight-game start has disintegrated into a stretch in which the team has dropped three of its past five games.

The No. 10 Wildcats will attempt to rebound from a stunning setback when they face Colorado in Pac-12 play on Thursday night at Tucson, Ariz.

The Buffaloes (11-2, 2-0) are soaring with six consecutive wins at a time when Arizona (10-3, 1-1) is reeling.

On Sunday, the Wildcats were walloped 100-82 by host Stanford. The Cardinal set a school record with 16 3-pointers (in just 25 attempts) and never trailed.

“I need to go back and watch, but obviously they were hot,” Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd said of Stanford. “How were they getting them, were we contesting them enough? It’s tough. This is one of the toughest ones since I have been here, but I am built for it and we’re built for it.

“We play a really good Colorado team on Thursday, so we need to fix some things.”

There definitely is a need for revamping a squad that was No. 1 in the nation in the middle of last month.

The Wildcats were knocked out of the top spot with a 92-84 neutral-court loss to then-No. 3 Purdue on Dec. 16. They later lost 96-95 in double overtime to ranked Florida Atlantic on a neutral floor.

Arizona defeated host Cal 100-81 on Friday night but seemingly had no energy on Sunday in Stanford’s gym.

“We had a numb look about us. It was crazy,” Lloyd said. “I’ve never seen us so disconnected at the start of a game. Sometimes it happens in these weird time slots or in Sunday games where the atmosphere is pretty quiet, but you have a responsibility.

“It’s a game. Go play and go play with passion and energy. We didn’t until it got late, and it was too late. They were feeling good and they kicked our (butts). There’s no other way of putting it.”

Caleb Love scored 23 points to increase his team-leading average to 17.4 per game, sixth-best in the Pac-12.

Colorado will counter with guard KJ Simpson, who leads the Pac-12 in scoring (21.1 ppg) and is tied for second in 3-point shooting percentage (47.1). Last season, he shot a paltry 27.6 percent from behind the arc.

Simpson is coming off a career-best 34-point effort in Sunday’s 74-67 home victory over Washington State. Simpson has at least 20 points in five straight games and nine times overall this season.

“I talked to KJ early in the season about the fact that it’s going to be important for him to recognize night to night what he has to do to help the team win,” Buffaloes coach Tad Boyle said. “There’s nights it might be getting eight to 10 to 12 assists. Friday (against Washington) he had 10 rebounds. (Sunday) we needed him to score, and he went and got 34. He has solidified himself as one of the great point guards in Colorado basketball history.”

Simpson also leads the Buffaloes in assists (4.5 per game), steals (27) and 3-point baskets (24).

Second-leading scorer Tristan da Silva (15.7 ppg) has missed the past two games with an ankle injury, and his status for Thursday is unclear. Cody Williams (14.0 average in seven games) remains sidelined with a wrist injury.

Arizona leads the series 24-16 and won last season’s lone meeting, 78-68 in Tucson.

–Field Level Media

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