ARIZONA BASKETBALL

Tubelis scores career-high 32 points as No. 6 Arizona rolls to win over Utah

Jan 15, 2022, 8:28 PM

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Azoulas Tubelis scored 32 points, Christian Koloko added 16 points, and No. 6 Arizona dominated Utah inside for an 82-64 win on Saturday night.

Arizona’s offense was a bit off-kilter early with point guard Kerr Kriisa out for non-COVID-19 precautionary reasons.

The Wildcats (14-1, 4-0 Pac-12) struggled with turnovers early and shooting from the perimeter all night, going 3 for 18 from the 3-point arc. But they made up for it by pounding it inside.

Arizona outscored Utah 56-28 in the paint, including 12 points during a 21-0 run that turned a close game into a blowout.

The Utes (8-9, 1-6) were effective at slowing the Wildcats well into the second half, allowing them to hang around. The physical pounding of Arizona’s big men took a toll and Utah struggled to take care of the ball, turning it over 20 times.

Both Gach scored 12 points to lead Utah, which has lost five straight.

Arizona has struggled with turnovers at times with Kriisa in the lineup and the guard’s absence seemed to exacerbate it early against a Utah team that was able to slow the pace.

The Wildcats threw several wild passes early, including a couple that sailed into the crowd, and had 10 turnovers by halftime. Arizona also struggled to hit shots early, missing numerous open looks in half-court sets — 1 for 11 from 3 — as Utah controlled the tempo.

Tubelis had no trouble hitting shots. The Lithuanian big man repeatedly got to the basket on free drives for dunks or quick shots underneath. He had 16 points by halftime and Arizona finally found an offensive groove late, using a 12-4 run to go up 34-31 at halftime.

He kept dealing in the second half, with free runs for a couple of early dunks and scoring three straight baskets during the 21-0 run that put Arizona up 67-45.

Overall, Tubelis hit 14 of 24 shots, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out five assists.

BIG PICTURE

Arizona: It showed off its versatility, winning in a rout despite struggling to get perimeter shots to fall.

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Utah: At Arizona State on Monday.

Arizona: At Stanford on Thursday.

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