Cold-shooting Arizona Wildcats hold off UTEP for 69-61 win
TUSCON, Ariz. (AP) — James Akinjo scored 18 points and the Arizona Wildcats held on for a 69-61 win over UTEP on Saturday.
Akinjo made just 2 of 11 from the field but made all his 14 free-throw attempts. Bennedict Mathurin added 13 points and Jemarl Baker Jr. scored 11 for Arizona (5-0).
Baker scored seven points during a 17-6 run that gave Arizona the lead for good and made it 33-23 late in the first half. Azuolas Tubelis made a layup that gave the Wildcats an 8-point lead with 5:05 to play but they went 0 for 5 from the field thereon. Akinjo and Terrell Brown Jr. each went 2 for 2 from the free-throw line in the final minutes to seal it.
Souley Boom — who went into the game averaging 26.0 points (No. 6 nationally) — led UTEP (2-2) and 16 points and Bryson Williams scored 10. The duo combined to shoot 8 of 25 from the field while the rest of the Miners shot 48% (14 of 29).
Arizona shot 39.3% (22 of 56) from the field, including 0 for 9 from 3-point range. The Wildcats, who had made at least 12 3s in each of the last two games, had their streak of 410 consecutive games with at 3-pointer snapped.
UTEP was outrebounded 46-25 and was outscored 25-12 from the foul line despite shooting 80%. Arizona missed just three of its 28 free-throw attempts.