Pac-12 basketball: James Akinjo scores 22 to lead Arizona over Colorado
James Akinjo had 22 points and eight assists, lifting Arizona to an 88-74 win over Colorado on Monday night.
Arizona (7-1, 2-0 Pac-12) showed no signs for rust following a six-day layoff, shooting 53% while making 8 of 17 from the 3-point arc. Jemarl Baker added 14 points to help the Wildcats improve to 10-0 all-time against Colorado at McKale Center.
Akinjo opened the season shooting 44% from the 3-point arc, but had gone 3 for 18 the previous four games. The transfer from Georgetown found the range against Colorado, making his first five — one at the halftime buzzer — and finishing 5 for 7.
Colorado (6-2, 0-1) shot well in the first half to keep Arizona within reach, but went cold during a key stretch in the second half to lose its twice-delayed conference opener. Evan Battey had 18 points despite foul trouble to lead the Buffaloes.
Colorado also lost leading scorer McKinley Wright IV to a right ankle injury in the final minute.
The Buffaloes and Wildcats were originally scheduled to play on Dec. 2, but the game was postponed due to COVID-19 issues in Colorado’s program.
Colorado had two more games canceled before winning four straight, the latest a 74-64 victory over Grand Canyon three days before Christmas.
Arizona lost its Pac-12 opener at Stanford 78-75 and had a hard time shaking Montana in its final nonconference game before winning 70-64 on Dec. 22.
The layoffs didn’t seem to cause any rust in the rescheduled game.
Colorado and Arizona traded made baskets throughout the first half, including a combined 12 from the 3-point arc.
The 6-foot-8, 269-pound Battey bulled his way through the Wildcats for 14 first-half points.
Akinjo had 13 by halftime, including a running 3 at the buzzer to put Arizona up 50-44.
Battey went to the bench with his third foul 2 1/2 minutes into second half and the Wildcats took advantage, making five straight shots to go up 63-52.
Battey returned midway through the second half and immediately picked up his fourth foul. The Buffaloes continued to clang shots as Arizona pushed the lead to 13.
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