Sunday, December 10, 2023

20-0 run paces Arizona men’s basketball to blowout of UT-Arlington

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After going ultra deep in three of the first four games this season, Arizona only played eight guys the first 30-plus minutes Sunday. But that eight was more than good enough, especially in the second half.

The third-ranked Wildcats used a 20-0 run that stretched over both halves, outscoring UT-Arlington 33-2 over a 10-minute span to cruise to a 101-56 win at McKale Center.

Arizona (5-0) once again had the majority of its scholarship players in double figures, with seven getting to 10. Kylan Boswell and Oumar Ballo had 15 each, with Boswell going for 13 in the second half and Ballo making 7 of 8 shots.

Pelle Larsson added 13, Jaden Bradley had a UA-best 13, Keshad Johnson added 11 including three 3-pointers (after making one in the first four games) and both Motiejus Krivas and Caleb Love had 10. It was Krivas’ fourth double-digit game off the bench, following a 20-point performance in Friday’s win over Belmont, while Love overcame a 4-of-13 shooting performance by also collecting six rebounds, six assists (with one turnover) and two steals.

Arizona shot 52.1 percent, including 57.9 in the second half, and held UT-Arlington (2-2) to 36.1 percent shooting. The Mavericks made 14 of 27 to start the game, including 6 of 9 from 3, but then missed 16 of 17 overall and 11 straight from 3.

Down by as much as five in the first half, Arizona went on a 9-0 run in 82 seconds to go up 37-32 with 3:05 left, then after Arlington tied it with 1:26 to go the Wildcats scored three times in the final 70 seconds to take a 6-point lead into the break.

They’d score 14 in a row to start the second half, keeping the fans who did show up standing until the first media timeout. A 4-point play, with Larsson making a pair of free throws after a flagrant foul by UTA’s Dajuan Gordon and a layup from Ballo, putting the UA up 57-37 with 15:40 to go.

The UA hits the road later this week to take on No. 18 Michigan State in Palm Springs, Calif. on Thanksgiving. Its next game at McKale is Dec. 2 against Colgate.

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