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MENS BASKETBALL


Arizona 87, Alabama 74

College Basketball

BY JOHN MARSHALL
Associated Press

PHOENIX - Oumar Ballo had 16 points and 12 rebounds, Pelle Larsson added 16 points and No. 4 Arizona used a massive second-half run to beat Alabama 87-74 in the Jerry Colangelo Hall of Fame Series.

Two of the nation’s top three scoring teams engaged in a surprising defensive battle, trading missed shots and turnovers.

With Arizona fans making the Footprint Center sound like McKale Center West, the Wildcats (9-1) had them roaring with a 19-3 run to take a 10-point lead midway through the second half.

Caleb Love scored nine straight points to put Arizona up 84-72 and help the team avoid losing consecutive games for the first time in three seasons under coach Tommy Lloyd. The Wildcats lost by eight to top-ranked Purdue on Saturday.

The Crimson Tide (6-5) arrived in the desert at the end of a brutal stretch of three games against top-10 teams for the first time in program history. Alabama failed in the first two, losing by six to Purdue and by three to No. 12 Creighton.

Poor shooting doomed the Tide in the third.

Alabama shot 34% and went 8 for 40 from the 3-point arc, exacerbating it with 18 turnovers that led to 26 Arizona points. Grant Nelson had 17 points and Sam Walters 15 to lead the Crimson Tide.

Two teams that average more than 92 points per game started out shooting like they were playing on bent rims, going a combined 4 of 26 from the floor.

Alabama started 3 of 19 and missed 11 straight shots at one point. Arizona missed its first eight shots, needing more than five minutes to hit its first.

The teams started to find the range after that — at least inside.

Alabama went 3 of 22 from and Arizona was only slightly better, hitting 3 of 12 from 3 to lead 41-40 at halftime.

BIG PICTURE

Alabama: The Crimson Tide had a hard time hitting open shots in the first half and succumbed to Arizona’s defensive pressure in the second to finishing 0-3 against consecutive top-10 teams.

Arizona: The Wildcats were not at their best against Alabama’s length, shooting 43%. They made up for it with defense and free-throw shooting, hitting 27 of 37 from the line.

December 20, 2023






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