ARIZONA BASKETBALL

No. 8 Arizona Wildcats roll past California Baptist to stay unbeaten

Dec 18, 2021, 6:25 PM
Head coach Tommy Lloyd of the Arizona Wildcats snarls at his bench during the first half of the NCA...
Head coach Tommy Lloyd of the Arizona Wildcats snarls at his bench during the first half of the NCAAB game against the California Baptist Lancers at McKale Center on December 18, 2021 in Tucson, Arizona. (Photo by Rebecca Noble/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rebecca Noble/Getty Images)

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Azuolas Tubelis had 19 points and Bennedict Mathurin added 14 as No. 8 Arizona shook off a slow start to beat Cal Baptist 84-60- on Saturday.

The Wildcats (11-0) continued their best start since opening the 2014-15 season with 12 straight wins, but it wasn’t easy early on. They trailed by 11 less than four minutes into the game and didn’t take their first lead until 9:01 left in the first half.

Tubelis was 7-for-16 from the field after starting 1 of 6, adding seven rebounds, five assists and two blocks, while Mathurin was 5-for-11 and had three of Arizona’s eight 3-pointers.

Christian Koloko added 12 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks and Oumar Ballo had 10 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks as Arizona blocked 12 Cal Baptist shots — 10 in the first half — and turned 12 offensive rebounds into 19 second-chance points while the Lancers (8-3) didn’t score on any of their 12 offensive boards.

Arizona extended a seven-point halftime lead to 16 less than 3 minutes into the second half, with 10 of its first 12 points coming from Tubelis. A 3-pointer by Pelle Larsson capped an 8-0 run to put the Wildcats up 61-41 with 12:31 remaining.

Cal Baptist was led by Ty Rowell, who had 11 points and was 3 for 3 from 3-point range, while freshman guard Taran Armstrong — who came in leading Division I in assists at 8.3 per game — finished with nine points, three assists and four turnovers.

The Lancers hit their first six shots including five 3-pointers to build an 18-7 lead with 16:14 left in the first half. But they missed 19 of their next 21 shots, clanking 13 in a row during a 14-0 Arizona run to put the Wildcats up 26-22 with 7:29 to go before halftime.

Arizona outscored Cal Baptist 28-11 over the final 8:37 of the first half to lead 40-33 at the break.

BIG PICTURE

The Wildcats are about to begin a four-game road trip, their longest since 2008. Arizona doesn’t play again at McKale Center until Jan. 13 when it hosts Colorado for its Pac-12 Conference home opener.

UP NEXT

Arizona travels to No. 18 Tennessee on Wednesday.

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