TUCSON, Ariz. — Gabe York scored 18 points, and No. 12 Arizona beat undermanned Northwestern State 61-42 on Sunday night.
Allonzo Trier added 10 points for the Wildcats, who overcame a subpar shooting effort to extend the nation’s longest active home winning streak to 42 games. They also moved to 4-0 for the sixth straight season.
York hit two 3-pointers, a nifty layup in traffic and two free throws in a 12-4 run that put Arizona ahead 54-36 with 5 minutes left.
Zeek Woodley had 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Demons (0-4), who have struggled offensively since losing senior point guard Jalan West to a season-ending knee injury.
Trier started in place of forward Ryan Anderson, who sat as a precaution after tweaking his right ankle Thursday against Boise State.
The Wildcats failed to find an offensive rhythm despite a big height advantage. A nearly five-minute scoring drought allowed Northwestern State to get within 10 points with 11:10 left.
York then had a driving layup and a 3 on consecutive possessions and Arizona slowly pulled away despite missing 17 of 22 3-pointers and 12 free throws in the finale of a four-game homestand.
Picked to finish second in the Southland Conference, the Demons have been reeling since losing West in the final minute of their opener at Mississippi.
Three days later, Northwestern State lost to LSU-Alexandria of the NAIA as West, who led the NCAA in assists for the nation’s top scoring team last season, prepared for surgery.
The Demons’ high-paced offense looked lost at times without their 20-points-per-game scorer in the teams’ first meeting.
But their defense kept them in it. Arizona shot 37 percent from the field.
Northwestern State: F Colby Koontz (concussion) missed his fourth straight game. … The Demons have road games remaining vs. Auburn, Arkansas and No. 20 Baylor.
Arizona: The Wildcats’ 71st win since the 2013-14 season matches Kentucky for most in the country.
The crowd erupted in applause when Dusan Ristic hit a routine free throw halfway through the first half. The reason? Arizona started 1 of 8 from the foul line and finished 12 of 24. Ristic had nine points and 10 rebounds.
The injured West sat between the coaches on the Northwestern State bench, shouting instructions and chatting with players during timeouts. The school will appeal to the NCAA for West to be granted a sixth year of eligibility.
Arizona plays Thursday against Santa Clara in the Wooden Legacy at Fullerton, California.
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