LAS VEGAS — Arizona Wildcats point guard Mark Lyons tweeted after the game at Utah on Feb. 17 that “I won’t ever in my life shoot that many threes again in a game.”
The Cats won’t mind that he wasn’t a man of his word.
He took nine attempts from behind the arc in Salt Lake City and took nine again as the Wildcats beat Colorado 79-69 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Thursday.
The first eight were largely forgettable. Only one went in.
The ninth, though, was a thing of beauty.
There was one second left on the shot clock as Kevin Parrom inbounded the ball from in front of the Arizona bench. Lyons ran the baseline toward the bench, caught the pass, curled and unleashed a 3-pointer to give Arizona a 71-64 lead with 2:03 to play.
“We called one of our plays,” he said. “It was for either me or Grant (Jerrett) to get the ball, and I came off wide open, so I just threw it up and made it.”
Lyons finished with 14 points on 4-of-13 shooting. He had three assists and two turnovers.
As for taking nine 3-pointers …
“There were a couple of them that I just had to put up, shot clocking winding down,” he said. “They weren’t actually shots I wanted to take, but that ninth one was the best one. So, I’ll take it, man, I’ll take it.”
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Arizona’s bench outscored Colorado’s reserves 25-11. Even post player Angelo Chol, who played only two minutes, chipped in with a basket.
“Arizona, when you look at their lineup, they’ve got the most quality depth of anybody in our league,” said Colorado coach Tad Boyle.
“That Chol kid is a hell of a player, and he didn’t even get to play much tonight.”
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Spencer Dinwiddie led Colorado with 18 points, although he was only 4 of 12 from the field. He scored the first basket of the game, when he took advantage of a defensive switch and zoomed past Solomon Hill for a dunk.
That was the Buffs’ only lead of the game.
Nick Johnson had the defensive assignment most of the night against Dinwiddie, a tough matchup as a 6-6 point guard. Dinwiddie, so good at getting to the line, made 9 of 10 free throws.
“I felt that Coach made a good decision to switch me to Spencer,” Johnson said. “I got to pick the ball up and move a little bit and get going. I think that led to good shots on the offensive end.”
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Arizona football coach Rich Rodriguez was in attendance at the UA game, sitting courtside across from the Colorado bench, just a couple of seats away from Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott. … Arizona is 20-1 when leading at halftime. … Freshman center Kaleb Tarczewski had to leave the game with 16:29 to go when he was hit in the stomach, but he was able to return after about four minutes of game time. “It wasn’t really a big deal,” he said. “It just hurt a little bit.”