Justin Coleman’s 3 allows Arizona to hold off UC Davis
TUCSON, Ariz. — Justin Coleman sank the go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:03 to play and the Arizona Wildcats escaped with a 70-68 victory over UC Davis Saturday night in their final nonconference game before Pac-12 play begins.
Coleman’s only 3 of the night put Arizona ahead 70-68 and the Aggies failed twice to tie or take the lead after that. T.J. Shorts’ layup attempt was off the mark over the outstretched arms of Chase Jeter with 53 seconds left and Rogers Pritup threw up an airball at the buzzer.
Jeter led Arizona (9-4) with 16 and Brandon Randolph added 15.
Shorts, the reigning Big West player of the year, scored a season-high 25 for the Aggies (3-8). Siler Schneider and Goode added 13 apiece.
The close call came a week after Arizona’s 52-game home nonconference winning streak ended with a loss to Baylor.
The Wildcats don’t play again until Jan. 3, when they are home against Colorado in their Pac-12 opener.
Down by as many as 15 in the first half, the Aggies used an 11-2 run early in the second half to tie it. Goode drove the lane and was fouled by Ira Lee and the subsequent free throw that made it a three-point play that made it 48-48 with 14:55 remaining. Squire sank a pair of 3s in the outburst.
Nobody led by more than three points after that in the exceedingly tight contest.
There were eight ties and UC Davis finally got the lead 64-62 on Shorts’ driving layup with 5:14 left. Randolph tied it with two free throws before Shorts scored again on a drive and the Aggies led 66-64 with 3:35 remaining. Coleman made one of two free throws before Jeter made two from the line to put Arizona back on top 67-66 1:54 from the finish.
Shorts followed with a layup to put Cal Davis back on top 68-67 with 1:37 left and set up Coleman’s big shot.
Arizona shot 57.7 percent in the first half to open up a 41-30 lead at the break.
UC-Davis outscored the Wildcats 18-7 to start the second half to forge the tie.
Arizona: The Wildcats took care of Montana and, barely, UC-Davis after their 52-game nonconference home winning streak came to an end with a loss against Baylor.
Still, the Wildcats’ close call on Saturday show there’s need for practice time to work on some issues if they want to be relevant in the Pac-12 with play starting in two weeks.
UC-Davis: The Aggies have four starters back from last year’s Big West championship team and should be contenders to win it again, despite losing seven of their first eight nonconference games.
UC-Davis: hosts Loyola-Marymount on Friday night.
Arizona: hosts Colorado on Jan. 3 in their Pac-12 opener.
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