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GAMEDAY Mens Basketball

Arizona 85, Montana State 64

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

By JOHN MARSHALL
AP Basketball Writer

TUCSON, Ariz. - Kerr Kriisa scored 18 points, Cedric Henderson Jr. added 16 and No. 5 Arizona pulled away in the second half to beat Montana State 85-64.

The Wildcats (11-1) earned a hard-fought win over No. 8 Tennessee on Saturday and faced another fight against the scrappy Bobcats (7-6).

Arizona pulled it out by wearing down Montana State and hitting 10 of 25 3-pointers for its 26th straight home win. Oumar Ballo had 11 points and 10 rebounds, and the Wildcats scored 20 points off Montana State's 20 turnovers. Kriisa went 6 of 9 from 3.

Jubrile Belo had 18 points and RaeQuan Battle added 17 for the Bobcats, who shot 3 for 24 from the 3-point arc.

The Wildcats were forced to get physical instead of playing their usual free-flowing style against Tennessee and pulled it off for a 75-70 win.

The Bobcats didn't make it easy on Arizona, either.

The favorite to win the Big Sky Conference after going to the NCAA Tournament a year ago, Montana State made the Wildcats work for shots and limited their transition opportunities - outside of a couple of Azuolas Tubelis breakouts.

Arizona looked like it was going to pull away midway through the first half, going on a 15-4 run to go up 31-19. The Bobcats clawed their way back behind their defense, using an 11-1 run to cut the Wildcats' lead to four.

Arizona led 44-37 at halftime thanks to a long 3-pointer by Kriisa - his fourth of the half - that had Montana State coach Danny Sprinkle waving his arms in disgust at the defensive breakdown.

Arizona went on a 9-0 run to go up 53-39, but Montana State kept the Wildcats in reach by reaching.

The Wildcats had a 1-for-11 stretch midway through the second half, but maintained their lead from the free throw line as the Bobcats racked up the fouls.

Arizona started hitting shots again after that, using an 11-2 run to go up 71-54. Montana State got no closer than 16 points from there. The Wildcats went 21 for 29 on free throws.

BIG PICTURE

Montana State held the nation's highest-scoring team in check for stretches of the game, but was doomed by turnovers and poor perimeter shooting.

Arizona had to work for the second straight game and again found a way to win against a quality opponent to extend the nation's third-longest home winning streak.

December 20, 2022


Montana State
Player FG-FGA FT-FTA 3P-3PA OR-TR Ast Blk Stl TO PF Pts
R. Battle 7-18 3-3 0-7 0-4 0 0 1 2 3 17
J. Belo 7-8 4-7 0-0 2-6 1 0 0 5 2 18
C. Fuller 1-5 3-4 1-4 1-3 3 1 0 1 4 6
P. McMahon 1-4 1-2 0-1 0-0 0 1 1 0 2 3
G. Osobor 0-1 0-4 0-0 1-2 0 0 1 5 4 0
D. Brown II 3-4 0-0 0-1 0-4 5 0 3 1 2 6
R. Ford III 0-4 2-2 0-2 2-5 1 0 1 1 0 2
T. Patterson 1-5 0-0 1-5 1-1 0 1 0 2 3 3
S. Lecholat 4-7 0-0 1-4 2-5 0 0 0 2 3 9
N. Gazelas 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Totals 24-56
(.429)
13-22
(.591)
3-24
(.125)
14-38 10 3 7 19 23 64


Arizona
Player FG-FGA FT-FTA 3P-3PA OR-TR Ast Blk Stl TO PF Pts
C. Henderson Jr. 5-11 5-6 1-3 1-4 1 0 1 2 3 16
K. Kriisa 6-10 0-0 6-9 0-2 2 0 2 2 3 18
P. Larsson 2-8 7-8 1-3 1-4 5 0 1 2 1 12
O. Ballo 4-7 3-5 0-0 4-10 2 2 2 3 4 11
C. Ramey 2-6 4-8 2-6 1-3 2 0 1 2 2 10
K. Boswell 2-5 0-0 0-2 0-3 2 0 4 0 0 4
A. Tubelis 6-13 2-2 0-1 5-9 1 0 0 1 4 14
H. Veesaar 0-1 0-0 0-1 0-1 0 0 0 0 1 0
A. Bal 0-1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0
F. Borovicanin 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 1 0
D. Anderson 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Totals 27-62
(.435)
21-29
(.724)
10-25
(.400)
19-46 15 2 11 12 19 85




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