ARIZONA BASKETBALL

Arizona Wildcats eliminated by Houston in Sweet 16 of NCAA Tournament

Mar 24, 2022, 9:33 PM | Updated: 11:01 pm
Houston forward Fabian White Jr., right, blocks a shot by Arizona guard Bennedict Mathurin during t...
Houston forward Fabian White Jr., right, blocks a shot by Arizona guard Bennedict Mathurin during the second half of a college basketball game in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA tournament on Thursday, March 24, 2022, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

The Arizona Wildcats are no longer dancing.

The No. 1 seed in the South Region — and No. 2 team in the country — was eliminated in the Sweet 16 by the No. 5 seeded Houston Cougars, 72-60. Houston led the entirety of the ballgame.

“I think we really built some foundational pieces this year that are really going to serve us well moving forward,” Arizona head coach Tommy Lloyd told reporters postgame.

“Extremely proud of the guys. Extremely proud of the coaching staff,” Lloyd said. “We ran into a really good team tonight that was just a little bit too much for us.”

Coming into the contest, Houston’s stifling defense was tied for third in the nation holding opponents under 60 points scored a total of 19 times this season. Arizona on the other hand came in with one of the country’s best offenses averaging 85 points per game.

The Wildcats were held to 34% shooting despite guard Kerr Kriisa being inserted back into the starting lineup after coming off the bench earlier in the NCAA Tournament due to an ankle injury he suffered in the Pac-12 tourney.

Kriisa and forward Azuolas Tubelis combined for five points on 1-of-15 from the field on the night. The duo also combined for six turnovers, with the Lithuanian Tubelis having a team-high of four. Guard Dalen Terry led Arizona with 17 points, followed by Bennedict Mathurin with 15 and Christian Koloko’s 10.

“It was a tough game. There’s a lot of things we could have done better to win the game,” Mathurin said. “I don’t have a lot to say.”

Houston was led by guards Jamal Shead and Kyler Edwards, who combined for 40 points. Shead had a game-high 21 points, while Edwards’ 19 points were more than any Arizona scorer.

The Cougars move on to the Elite 8 where they will face the No. 2 seed Villanova Wildcats.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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