Fri, 23 Apr 2021

Arizona pulls away for win over Washington State

Field Level Media
26 Feb 2021, 16:40 GMT+10

James Akinjo scored 19 points and Arizona silenced red-hot Noah Williams as the Wildcats beat Washington State 69-53 on Thursday night in Tucson, Ariz.

Akinjo scored 15 of his points in the second half as Arizona (16-8, 10-8 Pac-12) swept the season series against the Cougars (14-11, 7-11).

Williams, who scored a combined 72 points in a sweep of Cal and Stanford last week to earn some national Player of the Week honors, struggled through a 2-of-15 shooting night. He finished with eight points, 32 fewer than he had in a triple-overtime victory against the Cardinal on Saturday.

Arizona led by double digits for all but 10 seconds of the final 12 minutes. Washington State didn't have enough offense to make a run, even with the return of leading scorer Isaac Bonton, who had missed three games because of an ankle injury.

Bonton, who entered the game before the first media timeout, scored three points in 19 minutes.

Bennedict Mathurin scored 14 for Arizona. Terrell Brown Jr., a 6-foot-3 senior guard, blocked a career-high four shots to go with eight assists, seven points and five rebounds. Azuolas Tubelis had nine points and nine boards.

TJ Bamba scored 12 points to lead the Cougars, who shot 31.7 percent for the game, including 25 percent (7 of 28) from 3-point range. Dishon Jackson scored 10, and junior Aljaz Kunc grabbed a career-high 14 boards.

Arizona led 31-30 a few minutes into the second half but pulled away as Akinjo got hot. He connected on two 3-pointers and scored 11 points during a 16-5 run that pushed the lead to 47-35 at the 12:01 mark.

Most of the first half was played at Washington State's preferred slower pace, and the Cougars led 22-18 after Kunc's 3-pointer with 4:12 to go before halftime.

However, the Wildcats finished on a 10-2 run to take a 28-24 lead, shaking free to end the half with two transition baskets, including a steal and layup from Akinjo.

Arizona starting guard Kerr Kriisa did not play because of a groin injury.

--Field Level Media

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