Ristic, No. 17 Arizona look to stay hot vs. Colorado (Jan 07, 2017)

Arizona center Dusan Ristic started the season slowly, moving into the starting lineup for the first time.

Lately, he’s been pretty much unstoppable.

The hot-shooting Ristic will lead the No. 17 Wildcats (14-2, 3-0 Pac-12) into Saturday night’s home game against Colorado (10-5, 0-2), starting at 9:30 p.m. ET.

The 7-foot junior has made 22 of 30 field goal attempts in conference play, averaging 16.7 points. In Arizona’s eight-game winning streak, Ristic is shooting 65.8 percent from the field (48 of 73). He has uncommon skill and touch around the basket, but it took him a while to adjust to a bigger role.

“I have just kept doing what I have done the last three years,” Ristic said.

“Coach (Sean) Miller mentioned that getting the starting role at the beginning of the season may have put some pressure on me. After the first few games, I was getting my full confidence and from that point on, I just kept playing like I can.”

Ristic scored 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting in Thursday night’s 66-56 victory over Utah. Colorado was in Tempe, Ariz., losing 78-77 to Arizona State when guard Tra Holder made two free throws with just over 1 second remaining.

The Buffaloes, who opened the season with a win at Texas and beat Xavier at home, began conference play with a 76-60 loss at Utah.

This will be the only meeting of the regular season between Arizona and Colorado.

“This is where you’re tested,” Colorado coach Tad Boyle said.

“We had one shot at Arizona State; it’s water under the bridge now and now we get one shot at Arizona. All you can ask for in life is an opportunity, and we have a great one and great challenge because Arizona is a terrific program. Let’s go and let it all hang out.”

Ristic is up to 11.6 points per game, but that is still fourth on the team behind a trio of freshmen.

Lauri Markkanen, a 7-footer, is averaging 15.5 points and is the team’s most prolific 3-point shooter (32 of 74, 43.2 percent). Wing Rawle Alkins is averaging 12.4 points per game, and guard Kobi Simmons 12.2.

Point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright has come off the bench since returning from a high ankle sprain three games ago, but he figures to regain a role in the starting lineup soon. He has 19 assists and only three turnovers after missing almost all of seven games.

“Coach always has confidence in me,” Jackson-Cartwright said. “He just told me to be aggressive. My teammates trust me.”

Colorado is led by senior guard Derrick White, a transfer from Division II University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. White poured in 35 points against Arizona State to increase his scoring average to 16.3.

“Derrick White was unbelievable offensively,” Boyle said Thursday night. “He just made every play. We need to get him some help; there is no doubt about that.”

Buffaloes forward Xavier Johnson averages 13.9 points. He was ejected from the ASU game for a flagrant 2 technical foul, but not for fighting, so he will be eligible to play at Arizona.

The Wildcats are 4-0 against Colorado in Tucson since the Buffaloes joined the Pac-12 for the 2011-12 season.