ARIZONA BASKETBALL

No. 3 Arizona basketball uses lengthy scoring runs to put away Southern

Nov 13, 2023, 8:37 PM | Updated: 8:40 pm

Arizona guard Pelle Larsson...

Arizona guard Pelle Larsson (3) and guard Caleb Love (2) box out Southern University guard Jordan Mitchell (9) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Monday, Nov. 13, 2023, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

TUCSON (AP) — Keshad Johnson scored a career-high 17 points and No. 3 Arizona men’s basketball used a 17-0 run spanning halftime to pull away for a 97-59 win over Southern on Monday night.

The Wildcats (3-0) trailed by five midway through the first half before outscoring the Tigers 60-18 over the next 20 minutes.

Johnson, a senior transfer from San Diego State, was 6-for-8 from the field and 5-for-6 from the line. He scored 14 points in each of Arizona’s previous two games, including a 78-73 win Friday at then-No. 2 Duke in which he converted the go-ahead three-point play with under a minute remaining.

Motiejus Krivas and KJ Lewis had 12 points each and were among six Wildcats to score in double figures. Arizona has gotten 10 or more points from at least five players in each game this season.

Tai’Reon Joseph led the Tigers (1-2) with 22 points on 8-of-20 shooting, while the rest of his team was 12-of-41. Southern built a 17-12 lead with 11:13 left in the first half on a 3-pointer by Brandon Davis, taking advantage of seven early Arizona turnovers. However, the Tigers missed their next 15 shots.

Arizona led 35-23 at halftime, holding Southern without a field goal over the final 11:13 of the half. The Wildcats opened the second half with a 10-0 run to build a 22-point advantage with 18:23 remaining.

Southern ended a five-minute scoring drought with five straight points from Joseph to get within 45-28, but Arizona followed with a 16-2 run.

Arizona head coach Tommy Lloyd improved to 64-11, the second-most wins in 75 games to start a Division I career behind former Wisconsin coach Doc Meanwell (71-4). Lloyd already has the most wins in a coach’s first two seasons (61) and needs 26 more to pass Brad Underwood (89) for the most in his first three seasons.

Arizona hosts Belmont on Friday.

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