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Arizona rolls over Montana after home streak ends

Arizona head coach Sean Miller calls out to his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Connecticut, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018, in Hartford, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

TUCSON, Ariz. — Chase Jeter scored a career-high 21 points and Arizona bounced back from its first nonconference home loss in seven years with a 61-42 victory over Montana on Wednesday night.

Arizona had its 52-game home nonconference winning streak end on Saturday, when Baylor crushed the Wildcats on the glass in a 58-49 victory. The Wildcats (8-4) bounced back with a stellar defensive performance, holding the Grizzlies (6-4) to 27 percent shooting in Arizona coach Sean Miller’s 500th career game.

Outrebounded 51-19 against Baylor, Arizona had a much better effort inside against Montana, grabbing 10 more rebounds while outscoring the Grizzlies 42-16 in the paint. Brandon Randolph added 15 points for the Wildcats.

Montana played without leading rebounder Jamar Akoh due to a wrist injury and had two long field goal-less stretches to prevent any chance of an upset at McKale Center.

Ahmaad Rorie had 19 points to lead the Grizzlies, who shot 5 for 23 from the 3-point arc.

Both teams went through long stretches of offensive ineptitude in a defensive-dominated first half.

The Grizzlies struggled offensively early, going more than five minutes without a field goal as Arizona built an 11-point lead by repeatedly getting the ball down low to Jeter.

Montana made up for it on the defensive end, holding the Wildcats without a field goal for more than 10½ minutes, including a 6½-minute scoreless streak.

Arizona took another defensive stand to close the first half, holding the Grizzlies to one field goal over the final 7:51 to lead 22-15.

The Grizzlies went through another offensive funk early in the second half, going scoreless for nearly 6 minutes as Arizona pushed the lead to 40-26.

Arizona kept up the defensive pressure from there to stymie any thought of a comeback.

BIG PICTURE

Montana had a hard time against Arizona’ length with Akoh out, particularly on offense. Even so, a game in a tough environment should only help once the Big Sky season starts.

Arizona got back to its defensive roots against a veteran team that went to the NCAA Tournament last season. Maybe another home nonconference streak has started?

UP NEXT

Montana plays at South Dakota State on Saturday.

Arizona hosts UC Davis on Saturday.

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