TUCSON, Ariz. — The McKale Center crowd buzzed in the minutes before the opening tip, more like a postseason game than another conference game.
With support like that, it’s not hard for top-ranked Arizona to get off to a fast start.
Charged by the mojo created inside one of college basketball’s best home-court advantages, the Wildcats raced out to a big lead and held on down the stretch to remain unbeaten with a 69-57 win over Colorado on Thursday night.
“This is why we love McKale; we feel like it’s like this all the time,” said Arizona forward Brandon Ashley, who had 15 points.
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Arizona (19-0, 6-0 Pac-12) had a week off after blowing out rival Arizona State and was still in a groove early, building a 14-point lead in the opening six minutes. Things didn’t go so well in the second half.
Arizona struggled from the perimeter, making 3 of 15 from three-point range, had a rare night when it didn’t outrebound the opposition (32-32) and missed three free throws in the closing 72 seconds to keep the game from becoming a rout.
The Wildcats pulled it out thanks to the big start and 44 points in the paint, allowing them to tie — with the 1992-93 and 1997-98 teams — for the longest winning streak in school history.
Nick Johnson led Arizona with 18 points and Aaron Gordon added 12.
A year after nearly pulling off an upset in the desert, Colorado (15-5, 4-3) had no chance for late-game heroics in its third game without leading scorer Spencer Dinwiddie.
The Buffaloes fell to 0-16 all-time against No. 1 teams.
Xavier Johnson led Colorado with 21 points, and Josh Scott added 15 with 11 rebounds.
Other Pac-12 games
At Arizona State 79, Utah 75
Jahii Carson scored 23 points, eight in a decisive five-minute span late in the game, as Arizona State held on to beat Utah.
Jonathan Gilling added 13 points, including 3 of 3 three-pointers, a critical one coming with 1:40 to play for the Sun Devils (14-5, 3-3). Jordan Bachynski had 11 points and 12 rebounds.
Jordan Loveridge scored 22 points and Delon Wright 21 for the Utes (14-5, 3-4), who led by as many as nine in the first half and were up 41-37 at the break.
Shaquielle McKissic added 11 points for Arizona State, which had lost two in a row.
At UCLA 91, Stanford 74
Tony Parker scored a career-high 22 points and UCLA used a big first-half run to end the Cardinal’s three-game winning streak.
The Bruins (15-4, 4-2) have won nine of their past 11 against Stanford, including a sweep last season. Jordan Adams added 19 points, Kyle Anderson had 13 points, seven rebounds and 10 assists, and Norman Powell had 13 points.
Stanford (12-6, 3-3) was led by Dwight Powell with 17 points and 13 rebounds, and Josh Huestis had 12 points and 12 rebounds. Chasson Randle came in averaging 19.5 points, but was held to 14 points on 3-of-16 shooting. The Cardinal has lost nine straight at Pauley Pavilion dating to January 2005.
|Thursday’s games Washington 80, Oregon 76 Arizona 69, Colorado 57 Arizona State 79, Utah 75 UCLA 91, Stanford 74|