The Arizona Wildcats and Colorado Buffs are very similar teams--scrappy, undersized, terrific team defense, very well-coached. The two teams met last month in Boulder, and the Cats lost a one-point heartbreaker.
Last night in Tucson was a different story, as Arizona, playing with just seven players, wore down Colorado in the second half to take a 71-57 win and move into a tie for second in the Pac-12 Conference.
Jesse Perry was extremely active underneath, scoring 13 of his 17 points in the final 20 minutes, to lead the Wildcats with fellow forward Solomon Hill (16 points and 14 rebounds).
With All-American Derrick Williams gone off to the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves, Arizona figured to be in pretty much a rebuilding mode, struggling to make it to the NCAA tournament in March.
A berth for the Cats in March Madness still is no given, but is looking pretty good at the moment with a 17-8 record overall and 8-4 in the Pac-12.
A bit closer to home, a small crowd at Wells Fargo Arena saw ASU hold on late to beat Utah 57-52 in a "battle" of two of the league's worst teams.
The tape of this one better not be stuck in any sort of time capsule, believe us.
Yet again, the word ugly directly comes to mind.
But the Sun Devils' head coach Herb Sendek and his squad will take the win, any win, in a season where victories (eight, now) have been at a premium.
The return from an ankle injury of ASU's Trent Lockett was a key, as the junior guard scored 12 points and added 6 rebounds in a fine effort.
Nice win, but Colorado looms on Saturday afternoon (4:30) in Tempe, a much more formidable foe than the lowly Utes. The game will be televised on KSAZ and aired on KTAR620.