Trier scores career-high 32, No. 3 Arizona opens with rout over NAU
TUCSON, Ariz.– Allonzo Trier scored a career-high 32 points and third-ranked Arizona opened its season with a 101-67 rout of Northern Arizona on Friday night.
Deandre Ayton, Arizona’s acclaimed 7-foot-1 freshman, had 19 points and 12 rebounds in his collegiate debut. Dusan Ristic added 20 points for the Wildcats, who shot 60 percent from the field.
Trier had 22 points in the first 20 minutes, the highest-scoring half of his career.
The Wildcats, without four players either due to discipline or injury, led by as many as 21 points in the first half. The Lumberjacks cut it to 10 in the opening minute of the second half before Arizona blew the game open.
Arizona also was without two assistant coaches, most notably Book Richardson, who has been indicted on federal bribery and fraud charges and remains on the school payroll.
As announced by the school earlier in the day, assistant coach Mark Phelps is serving a two-game suspension for an undisclosed NCAA violation and forward Keanu Pinder was out for one game, also due to an NCAA violation.
Among players, Dylan Smith is serving a one-game suspension for a team violation. Brandon Randolph is being treated for a concussion and Rawle Alkins has a broken foot.
The Wildcats shot out to a 13-4 lead and were up 45-24 after Trier’s two free throws with 4:58 to play.
Trier’s breakaway dunk on a turnover had Arizona up 49-29 with 2:51 to play.
Northern Arizona scored the final seven of the half to cut the Wildcats’ lead to 49-36. The NAU run reached 10-0 when Chris Bowling opened the second half with a 3-pointer to cut Arizona’s lead to 49-39.
Trier, who flirted with going pro but returned for his junior season, made 10 of 13 shots, including both of his 3-point tries, and 10 of 11 free throws.
Bowling led Northern Arizona with 11 points.
Northern Arizona: The Lumberjacks got $95,000 for coming to Tucson, even though they knew they really didn’t have a shot at winning. They were 9-23 last season and finished 10th in the Big Sky last year but should be at least a little better this season.
Arizona: The Wildcats, still under the cloud of that FBI probe, could have the best talent yet for coach Sean Miller, a group that includes a standout five-player freshman class. Arizona won’t be tested until next week’s trip to the Bahamas, where they will face North Carolina State in an eight-team tournament that includes Villanova.
Northern Arizona: Hosts Embry-Riddle on Monday night.
Arizona: Hosts Maryland, Baltimore County on Sunday.