Arizona basketball pulls away late to beat South Dakota St.
TUCSON, Ariz. — Josh Green scored 15 points, Nico Mannion added 14 and No. 14 Arizona pulled away in the final minutes to beat South Dakota State 71-64 on Thursday night.
Arizona (5-0) trailed for much of the first half and by three at halftime. The Wildcats finally pushed ahead 40-39 with 14:28 left when Green made a 15-foot jumper.
The basket was part of a 12-0 run that put the Wildcats ahead 46-39, and they wouldn’t trail again.
It wasn’t the prettiest game for the Wildcats’ heralded freshman trio of Green, Mannion and Zeke Nnaji, who finished with 12 points, but the group is still undefeated. The 6-foot-3 Mannion drove the lane and finished with a dunk in traffic with about a minute left to put the game out of reach for the Jackrabbits.
Arizona shot just 3 of 17 from 3-point range.
South Dakota State (4-3) was led by Douglas Wilson’s 15 points. Brandon Key added 13 points and Matt Dentlinger had 11.
Things didn’t go to Arizona’s plan early as South Dakota State jumped out to an early 24-14 lead following Noah Friedel’s 3-pointer. The Jackrabbits gave up a few buckets before another push, and Wilson’s spectacular alley-oop dunk on Dentlinger’s pass made it 28-18 with 5:59 left in the first half.
South Dakota State led 32-29 at halftime. Wilson had 13 points in the first half, shooting 4 of 6 from the field and 5 of 5 on free throws.
South Dakota State: The two-time defending Summit League regular-season champions are rebuilding after losing most of their roster from last year, but the new group showed plenty of potential.
Arizona: The Wildcats finally faced some adversity after mostly breezing through their nonconference schedule. The test wasn’t a bad thing considering the Wildcats have games against Baylor and Gonzaga in the coming weeks.
South Dakota State hosts Mississippi Valley on Sunday.
Arizona hosts Long Beach State on Sunday.