No. 8 Arizona Wildcats improve to 10-0 after win over Northern Colorado
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Christian Koloko had 19 points and blocked four shots, Kerr Kriisa also scored 19 points and No. 8 Arizona pulled away late to beat Northern Colorado 101-76 on Wednesday night.
The Wildcats (10-0) had another strong offensive performance, yet had a hard time shaking the hot-shooting Bears. Arizona shot 53% and had 32 more points in the paint, using a big run to finish off its best start since opening 12-0 in 2014-15.
Daylen Kountz kept the Bears (6-6) close in the first half, scoring 23 of his 33 points. Dru Kuxhausen did the same in the second, scoring all of his 15 points before Arizona pulled away.
The Wildcats have been unstoppable so far in coach Tommy Lloyd’s first season, entering Wednesday night’s game as one of seven undefeated teams in college basketball.
Arizona moved up to No. 1 in the NCAA’s NET rankings after rallying from a 13-point deficit for a 83-79 road win against Illinois last weekend. The Wildcats lead the nation in scoring, scoring margin, assists and rebounds.
That figured to be too much for a Northern Colorado team that’s among the nation’s worst in scoring and field goal defense.
Not quite, thanks to Kountz and Kuxhausen.
Kountz played three seasons for Colorado, so he wasn’t intimidated in one of college basketball’s toughest road venues. The senior guard confidently fired up shots from all over, scoring 15 points midway through the first half to give the Bears a three-point lead.
Arizona appeared ready to run away with it after a 10-1 run, yet couldn’t shake Northern Colorado.
Kuntz dunked over two players for a three-point play and shot 9 of 11 before halftime. The Bears shot 17 of 30 in the first half.
Their one problem: stopping Arizona. The Wildcats shot 19 of 33 and closed the half with an 8-0 run to lead 52-42.
Kuxhausen found the range after going 0 for 4 in the first half, hitting four 3-pointers in the opening eight minutes of the second to pull Northern Colorado within 71-67.
The Wildcats didn’t let them get any closer, tightening up their defense during a 21-2 run.
Arizona had some shaky defensive moments early but flexed its offensive prowess to remain undefeated.
Arizona hosts Cal Baptist on Saturday at 4 p.m.