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Arizona Wildcats’ late comeback not enough in narrow loss to St. John’s

Arizona guard Josh Green (0) steals the ball from St. John's guard Rasheem Dunn, left, during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019, in San Francisco. St. John's defeated Arizona 70-67. (AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Nick Rutherford scored on a driving layup with 1:03 remaining, Julian Champagnie added a free throw with 0.2 seconds left and St. John’s beat No. 16 Arizona 70-67 in the Al Attles Classic on Saturday night.

L.J. Figueroa scored 21 points and Rasheem Dunn added 14 to help the Red Storm (11-2) win their seventh straight. The last two have come without injured scoring leader Mustapha Heron.

Zeke Nnaji had 24 points and 11 rebounds for Arizona (10-3). Nico Mannion added 19.

The Wildcats’ previous two losses came against ranked teams.

St. John’s led comfortably but had trouble closing out Arizona despite the Wildcats making only two baskets over the final eight minutes. Part of that was because both teams were in double bonus down the stretch. At one point, Arizona scored 14 consecutive points on free throws.

The Red Storm didn’t trail until Max Hazzard made his first shot of the game, a 3-pointer with 1:21 remaining to put the Wildcats ahead 67-66.

After Rutherford scored on a drive down low, Mannion missed a 3-pointer then later came up short on a layup attempt with four seconds left.

Heron continues to be sidelined with a right ankle sprain he suffered Dec. 10 against Brown.

Figueroa bounced back after a poor shooting night against Albany on Wednesday to get the Red Storm off to a fast start. He had 16 points in the first half with a pair of 3s and capped a 6-0 run by making a buzzer-beating one-handed shot that he flipped off the backboard to extend St. John’s lead to 40-26.


The Wildcats fell in a big hole early and ran out of steam after their late rally. The good news was that Arizona repeatedly attacked the basket in the second half and got to the free throw line.


Arizona hosts rival Arizona State in the Pac-12 opener for both teams Jan. 4.


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