TUCSON, Ariz. — Kevin Parrom scored five of his 16 points in overtime after No. 3 Arizona staged an improbable late rally in regulation and the Wildcats escaped with a 92-83 victory over Colorado in their Pac-12 opener on Thursday night.
Colorado's Sabatino Chen banked in a 3-pointer at the end of regulation but officials waved it off after reviewing the video, saying the ball was on his fingertips as the backboard lights went on to show time had expired.
Arizona (13-0, 1-0) outscored the Buffaloes 10-2 over the final 1:35 of regulation to force the overtime. The Buffaloes missed four of six free throws in that stretch.
The Wildcats were down by 17 points in the first half and 16 with 12:40 to go in regulation.
It was the third close win for the Wildcats, who beat Florida 65-64 on Mark Lyons' layup at the buzzer and San Diego State 68-67 on Nick Johnson's blocked shot.
Askia Booker led Colorado (10-3, 0-1) with 18 points.
Arizona's 13-0 start is the second-best in school history and best since the Wildcats won their first 16 in 1932-33.
But they survived this one by a fraction of a second.
Chen scored a career-high 15 points, 12 in the second half. Josh Scott scored 15 points and Xavier Johnson had 13 for the Buffaloes, who beat Arizona by two points to win the Pac-12 tournament last season.
Lyons overcame an awful start to score a season-high 24 points, including two free throws that tied it at 80 with 9.2 seconds left in regulation.
Solomon Hill scored 15 points for the Wildcats. His 3-pointer with 1:35 to go in the second half cut the lead to 78-73.
Nick Johnson stole the ball from Andre Roberson and was fouled. Johnson made one of two free throws to cut it to 78-74 with 1:15 to play.
Scott made one of two free throws to make it 79-74 with 1:13 left. Lyons missed but Booker threw the ball away to Arizona's Jordin Mayes, whose layup cut the lead to 79-76 with 51 seconds on the clock.
Spencer Dinwiddie could make just one of two free throws with 44 seconds to go and it was 80-76. Lyons' driving layup cut it to 80-78 with 27 seconds to go.
Jeremy Adams was fouled and missed both free throws, then Lyons drove to the hoop, was fouled by Johnson and made both free throws as the crowd went crazy with 9.2 seconds left.
They fell silent when Chen banked in the shot at the end of regulation. But officials huddled around the monitor for several minutes before ruling the shot no good. Some replays seemed to show it had left his hands, while from other angles it appeared it didn't.
Referee James Breeding said the ball was on Chen's fingertips when the clock expired.
Parrom scored the first five points for Arizona in the overtime. His three-point play made it 83-82, the Wildcats' first lead since it was 5-4.
Arizona made just 3 of its first 17 shots, going 9:40 without a field goal in the first half. When Roberson hit a 3-pointer from the corner on an out of bounds play as the shot clock expired, the Buffaloes led 30-13 with 4:37 to go in the half. Arizona had not trailed by more than 11 points this season.
Consecutive 3-pointers by Parrom and Grant Jerrett finally ended the drought and the Wildcats finished the half on a 14-4 run to cut Colorado's lead to 34-27.
But the Buffaloes regained command in the second half and led 56-40 on Chen's 3-pointer with 12:40 left in regulation.