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No. 14 Arizona Wildcats beat Wake Forest for Wooden Legacy title

Arizona players hold the trophy after the team defeated Wake Forest 73-66 during the championship game of an NCAA college basketball game at the Wooden Legacy tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Dylan Smith scored 20 points, Chase Jeter added 17 and 14th-ranked Arizona beat Wake Forest 73-66 in the Wooden Legacy championship game on Sunday night.

It was Arizona’s first early season tournament title since 2014, when it won the Maui Invitational.

The Wildcats (9-0) led most of the game with their largest advantage being 56-41 8 minutes into the second half. The Demon Deacons (5-3) had a 14-4 run to get within 68-64 with 43 seconds remaining but could not draw closer. Arizona closed the game making five of its last six free throws.

Arizona shot a season-low 43.1% from the field (25 of 58) but had a 36-18 advantage in points in the paint.

Olivier Sarr led Wake with 21 points and 13 rebounds while Brandon Childress scored 19. The Demon Deacons shot 32.2% from the field (19 of 59) but were 23 of 26 from the foul line.

KEY RUN

Arizona was out in front for the first 6 minutes before Wake Forest scored 10 straight points to take a 23-16 lead with 11:23 remaining in the first half. The Demon Deacons’ lead was short-lived as the Wildcats went on a 14-0 run. Max Hazzard, a graduate transfer from nearby UC-Irvine, started the rally with two straight 3-pointers.

Arizona extended its lead to 37-27 with 3 minutes left before Wake scored six of the last eight points in the half to cut it to 39-33 at halftime.

TIP-INS

Arizona’s Nico Mannion was named the tournament’s MVP. Smith, Jeter and Sarr joined Penn’s AJ Brodeur on the all-tournament team.

BIG PICTURE

Arizona: This is the fourth time in Sean Miller’s 11 seasons that the Wildcats have been unbeaten in their first nine games. The last time was 2014-15, when they won their first 12 games.

Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons were playing in the final of a November/December tournament for the first time since 2008, when they won the 76 Classic in Anaheim. That tournament would merge with the Wooden Legacy starting in 2013.

UP NEXT

Wake Forest: At Penn State on Wednesday.

Arizona: At Baylor on Saturday.

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