Skip to main content

No. 6 Arizona Runs Away From Utah 82-64, Tubelis Scores 32

Jan 15, 2022

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) Azoulas Tubelis scored 32 points, Christian Koloko added 16 points, and No. 6 Arizona dominated Utah inside for an 82-64 win on Saturday night.

Arizona's offense was a bit off-kilter early with point guard Kerr Kriisa out for non-COVID-19 precautionary reasons.

The Wildcats (14-1, 4-0 Pac-12) struggled with turnovers early and shooting from the perimeter all night, going 3 for 18 from the 3-point arc. But they made up for it by pounding it inside.

Arizona outscored Utah 56-28 in the paint, including 12 points during a 21-0 run that turned a close game into a blowout.

The Utes (8-9, 1-6) were effective at slowing the Wildcats well into the second half, allowing them to hang around. The physical pounding of Arizona's big men took a toll and Utah struggled to take care of the ball, turning it over 20 times.

Both Gach scored 12 points to lead Utah, which has lost five straight.

Arizona has struggled with turnovers at times with Kriisa in the lineup and the guard's absence seemed to exacerbate it early against a Utah team that was able to slow the pace.

The Wildcats threw several wild passes early, including a couple that sailed into the crowd, and had 10 turnovers by halftime. Arizona also struggled to hit shots early, missing numerous open looks in half-court sets - 1 for 11 from 3 - as Utah controlled the tempo.

Tubelis had no trouble hitting shots. The Lithuanian big man repeatedly got to the basket on free drives for dunks or quick shots underneath. He had 16 points by halftime and Arizona finally found an offensive groove late, using a 12-4 run to go up 34-31 at halftime.

He kept dealing in the second half, with free runs for a couple of early dunks and scoring three straight baskets during the 21-0 run that put Arizona up 67-45.

Overall, Tubelis hit 14 of 24 shots, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out five assists.

BIG PICTURE

Utah: The Utes were able to grind down the game to the pace it wanted early, but wore down against Arizona's size inside.

Arizona: It showed off its versatility, winning in a rout despite struggling to get perimeter shots to fall.

UP NEXT

Utah: At Arizona State on Monday.

Arizona: At Stanford on Thursday.

---

More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

 

POSTGAME QUOTES

 

Utah head coach Craig Smith

"I thought they wore us down, they have elite size at the 4 and 5-spot, but their guards are big, strong and athletic as well," Utes head coach Craig Smith said. "I thought they really hurt us with some high-low stuff where they got some chip shots at the rim. We knew that could be an issue."

"These teams, they just have so much horsepower, versatility, and they can play a lot of different ways. They can play big, they can play small, they can play super athletic, so what seems like a hole, or an opening, it closes really quickly when you're on offense."
 

POSTGAME NOTES

  • Arizona opened the first 12 minutes of Saturday's game with 1-of-8 shooting (12.5%) from beyond the arc and 5-of-10 shooting from inside (50.0%)
  • Guard Justin Kier was Arizona's leading rebounder through the first 16 minutes of the game with four rebounds, which matched his season high. Kier would go on to grab six rebounds by the end of the night.
  • Kier did set a season high in assists with eight, coming one short of his career high of nine while at George Mason.
  • Wildcats' starting front court of Azoulas Tubelis would combine to score 24 of Arizona's 34 points at halftime.
  • Tubelis finished the first half 16 points, which eclipsed his total in each of his previous three games.
  • Beginning at the 12:00 mark of the second half, Arizona would score 18 unanswered points in a span of 5:04 to force Utah into their final timeout of the game with a 64-45 advantage. The Wildcats would score three more points before Utah scored again to make it 67-47
  • Tubelis set a new career high in scoring in the win over Utah with 32 points, eclipsing his previous mark of 31 at USC last season.
    • His 32 points were the most by a Pac-12 player this season.
  • The Lithuanian sophomore finished the game with 14 made field goals against Utah, which were the most by a Wildcat since Deandre Ayton had 14 makes from the field during the 2018 Pac-12 Tournament.