Zeke Nnaji can’t miss as No. 19 Arizona routs New Mexico State
TUCSON, Ariz. — Zeke Nnaji did not miss a shot for the second straight game while scoring 19 points, Jemarl Baker added 16 points and No. 19 Arizona rolled over depleted New Mexico State 83-53 on Sunday.
Arizona (4-0) took advantage of the short-handed Aggies (2-2) from the start, scoring the game’s first 10 points and using another big run to lead by 22 at halftime.
The Wildcats were at their free-flowing offensive best, shooting 53%, and shut down a New Mexico State team missing three key players.
Nnaji made all seven of his shots after going 8 for 8 against San Jose State and is 32 for 38 in four games this season. The 6-foot-11 freshman has made 17 straight shots, dating to the second half of last Sunday’s game against Illinois.
Jabari Rice had 14 points to lead New Mexico State, which shot 33%.
Outside of a Dec. 14 game against No. 8 Gonzaga, Sunday’s game against the Aggies was expected to be the Wildcats’ biggest remaining test before the Pac-12 season starts.
One problem: New Mexico State came to the desert short-handed.
The Aggies were without point guard A.J. Harris (finger), guard Clayton Henry (thumb) and big man Wilfried Lakayi (knee). Terrell Brown also has been struggling with a strained hip flexor and Rice suffered a sprained left wrist against Southern on Thursday.
New Mexico State made its first shot 5:20 into the game.
The Aggies fought back with an 8-0 run, but Arizona answered with a 15-2 spurt to start the rout. The Wildcats made 18 of 31 shots to lead 43-21 at halftime.
The Aggies shot 8 of 26, had 12 turnovers and were the latest team unable to stop Nnaji, who had 15 points and made all seven of his shots in the first half.
Arizona did not get the test it expected due to New Mexico State’s injuries, but it still kept up its high level of early-season play.
Arizona hosts South Dakota State on Thursday.