Arizona rides dominating first half to win over Utah
TUCSON, Ariz. — Max Hazzard had 24 points and made six 3-pointers, Zeke Nnaji added 24 points and Arizona rode a dominating first half to a 93-77 rout over Utah Thursday night.
The Wildcats (12-5, 2-2 Pac-12) played without center Chase Jeter due to back spasms, but made up for it shooting the Utes out of McKale Center in the first half.
Arizona had eight 3-pointers to lead by 24 at halftime and went 15 for 29 from the arc overall to bounce back from being swept by the Pac-12 Oregon schools last week.
Nnaji also had eight rebounds and Hazzard went 6 for 10 from 3-point range off the bench.
The young Utes (10-6, 1-3) lost by 39 to Colorado in their first Pac-12 road game last week and never stood much of a chance after digging a big early hole in one of college basketball’s toughest road venues.
Timmy Allen and Riley Battin had 16 points each to lead the Utes, who have lost four of five.
Coming off a 17-point loss at Oregon State, Arizona hit the Utes with a barrage of 3-pointers early. The Wildcats made five of their first eight from the arc and used an 8-0 run to build a 12-point lead midway through the first half.
Arizona finished the half 8 for 14 from 3 and stretched the lead to 52-28 behind Hazzard, who had 11 points and was 4 of 5 from the arc.
Utah labored against Arizona’s aggressive man defense, forcing up contested shots late in the shot clock throughout the first half. The Utes didn’t make many, at least from the perimeter, going 2 for 11 on 3-pointers in the half.
The Utes played better to start the second half, hitting a few more shots while creating some problems for Arizona defensively.
Even then, Utah only managed to get the lead down to 17.
Utah struggled at both ends early, leaving little chance of even making it competitive.
Arizona bounced back nicely after being blown out in its previous game, putting the game all but out of reach with a dominating first half.
Utah plays at Arizona State on Saturday.
Arizona hosts No. 20 Colorado Saturday.