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Arizona Wildcats move up to No. 16 in both national polls

Arizona forward Lauri Markkanen (10) shoots between Colorado guard Derrick White (21) and Xavier Johnson (11) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017, in Tucson, Ariz. Arizona defeated Colorado 82-73. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

The Arizona Wildcats’ slow ascension up the national polls continued on Monday, as they moved up to 16th in both the AP and USA Today Coaches polls.

Arizona was previously ranked 17th.

The Wildcats (15-2, 4-0 in Pac-12) stretched their winning streak to nine games over the weekend with home victories over Utah and Colorado.

In Thursday’s game, Arizona rallied from a slow start to cruise to a 66-56 win over Utah with Dusan Ristic’s 18 points leading the team. Then, on Saturday, Arizona got to a big lead over Colorado before hanging on for an 82-73 victory.

That night the Wildcats were led in scoring by Lauri Markkanen, who poured in 22 points. The freshman is Arizona’s leading scorer overall with 15.9 points per game, though this was his first outing of at least 20 points since Nov. 18.

Arizona will next take the floor Thursday evening in Tucson when the rival Arizona State Sun Devils (9-8, 2-2) come to town. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. and the game can be heard on ESPN Phoenix 620 AM.

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