No. 4 Arizona rolls past rival Arizona State for 91-79 win
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) Azuolas Tubelis had 19 points and 11 rebounds, Bennedict Mathurin added 18 points and No. 4 Arizona pulled away in the second half for a 91-79 win over rival Arizona State on Monday night.
Arizona (20-2, 10-1 Pac-12) has won four games in a row and nine of its last 10. The Wildcats swept the regular-season series with their in-state rival after their 67-56 win at home on Jan. 29.
Arizona got big minutes from bench players Oumar Ballo and Pelle Larsson. Ballo finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Larsson added 14 points on 5-of-5 shooting, including 3 of 3 on 3-pointers.
Jay Heath and Marreon Jackson led Arizona State (7-14, 3-8) with 16 points each.
Arizona led by four points at halftime and got off to a good start in the second when Kerr Kriisa made a quick 3-pointer. It was the beginning of a game-altering push for the Wildcats, who jumped to a 49-38 advantage and never trailed again.
Back-to-back powerful dunks by Christian Koloko and Dalen Terry capped a 15-4 Arizona run to open the second half.
The Sun Devils were coming off a thrilling triple-overtime win over No. 3 UCLA on Saturday, and started with a 14-1 lead by making four quick 3-pointers, including two from D.J. Horne.
But the Wildcats weren't down for long. They responded with an 11-0 run and took a 40-36 lead into halftime.
Ballo did a superb job of filling in for Koloko, who spent a big chunk of the first half on the bench in foul trouble. Ballo had seven points and eight rebounds before the break.
Arizona: Had a slow start but quickly recovered, showing why it's among the top teams in the Pac-12 and the nation. The good performance from Ballo was particularly promising. The 7-footer has played better as the season progresses and is averaging about eight points per game in Pac-12 play.
Coach Tommy Lloyd even occasionally played Ballo with the 7-foot-1 Koloko, which gives the Wildcats one of the tallest frontcourts in the country.
Arizona State: Rode the high of Saturday's UCLA win for a few minutes but couldn't sustain momentum. The Sun Devils' usually solid defense couldn't stop Arizona's impressive offense.
Arizona: At Washington State on Thursday.
Arizona State: At Washington on Thursday.