Koloko, Tubelis Power Arizona Past UT Rio Grande Valley
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Christian Koloko had 18 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks, Azuolis Tubelis scored 20 points with nine rebounds and Arizona's formidable frontcourt duo led the Wildcats to a 104-50 victory over UT Rio Grande Valley on Friday night.
Koloko, a 7-foot-1 junior, played 19 minutes and surpassed his career highs for both points and rebounds while tying his career best by blocking five shots for the second straight game. Tubelis, a 6-11 sophomore, p;ayed 16 minutes — all but two coming in the first half — to put together his stat line as the Wildcats took a 25-point halftime lead.
Justin Kier and Bennedict Mathurin each scored 13 points with Oumar Ballo, a 7-foot transfer from Gonzaga, finishing with 12 for the Wildcats (2-0).
Ricky Nelson scored 14 points and Justin Johnson and Mike Adewunmi added 10 each for the Vaqueros (1-1).
Tubelis scored 11 points in a 16-2 run to start the game and the Wildcats went on to a 49-24 halftime lead.
Three straight 3-pointers started a 12-0 run with 7.5 minutes left in the game and by the time it ended the Wildcats led by 51.
- Arizona shot 62.5% from the field in the first half, it's best shooting half since connecting at a 68.0% clip at Colorado on Feb. 6, 2021.
- In the first half, Christian Koloko and Azuolas Tubelis combined to go 11 of 11 from the floor for 26 points. UTRGV scored 24 points as a team in the first half.
- Nine different Wildcats made a field goal in the first half.
- The 54-point margin of victory is the sixth-largest in Arizona history
- The last time Arizona had back-to-back games with 25+ assists was January 2004
- The last time Arizona score 104 points in a game was Nov. 24, 2019 vs. Long Beach State
- Azuolas Tubelis scored 20 points on just eight shots. The last Arizona player to do that was Zeke Nnaji on Nov. 14, 2019 vs. San Jose State (26 points on 8 shots). It was Azuolas' third career game of 20+ points.
- Christian Koloko is the first Arizona player to have 10 points, 10 rebounds and five blocked shots in a game since Jordan Hill vs. SDSU on Dec. 10, 2008 (25p, 14r, 6blk). USC's Evan Mobley did it 4 times last year and was the only Pac-12 player to do it last season.
- Through the first two games of the season, Koloko has 10 blocked shots. According to STATS, Inc., it is the most by an Arizona player dating back to the start of the 1996-97 season. It's the most by a Pac-12 player through the first two games of a season since Malik Dime (WASH) had 11 at the start of the 2016-17 season.
- Arizona grabbed 54 rebounds in the game, the most since grabbing 58 against Washington on Dec. 31, 2020.
- The 43 defensive rebounds for UA are the most by a Wildcat team since Dec. 17, 2006 vs. Houston (44).
- The Wildcats shot 60.7% in the game against UTRGV, their best single-game percentage since shooting 66.7% against Northern Arizona on Dec. 7, 2020.
UTRGV Head Coach Matt Figger
What are your thoughts on Christian Koloko tonight?
"We had no answer. He was a man amongst boys. We got completely annihilated at the four and five and got annihilated on the glass. Their defense is really outstanding, we shot 22 percent for the game. It's deflating when you miss shots and they are so fast in transition and we gave up a lot of opportunities. It keeps beating you down and beating you down. Give them credit, they are athletic. It is a fun brand of basketball to watch, not to play against, but to watch."