LĀHAINĀ, HI – No. 14 Arizona Basketball (5-0) proves to be too much for No. 17 San Diego State (4-1) as the Wildcats advance to the Maui Invitational Final.
Fresh off of a close win in which No. 14 Arizona Basketball outpaced Cincinnati in the quarterfinals of the Maui Invitational Tournament, the Wildcats were back in action again on Tuesday evening.
This time taking on a talented and ranked opponent in No. 17 San Diego State, the Wildcats would face their toughest test yet on the young season.
Fueled by a collective team effort and another offensive barrage, five different Wildcats finished in doubled-figures, combining for 78 of the teams’ 87 points.
Courtney Ramey led the way offensively for the Cats, scoring an impressive 21 points and grabbing six rebounds while shooting a perfect, 5-5 from three.
Kerr Kriisa also had a big day, scoring 21 points and dishing five assists while Azuolas Tubelis and Oumar Ballo finished with 14 and 12 points respectively.
Jumping out to a comfortable first-half lead, No. 14 Arizona Basketball proved too much in the end, using an offensive barrage that wore down No. 17 SDSU.
Arizona started fast in this one, controlling much of the first half from the tip as the Wildcats pushed their lead to 16 at 31-15 after a Tubelis tip-in from Kriisa in transition.
Unfortunately, sloppy play and foul trouble allowed San Diego State to end the half on an 18-6 run to cut Arizona’s lead to 37-33 at the half.
Staying aggressive, the Aztecs would start the second half on a 9-3 run to take the lead at 42-40, but luckily for us, that was the last time that San Diego State would lead in this one.
Using a strong defensive effort that led to transition offense, the Wildcats would regain the lead moments later, eventually expanding their lead to 12 just minutes later.
Arizona would get into foul trouble mid-way through the second half, but luckily, the Wildcats were able to hang tough, and it was largely Ramey and Kriisa who came up big in the end, pushing Arizona’s lead to as many as 21 with 4:07 to play.
Despite the Aztecs’ best attempts to come back in this one, Arizona was stifling in the end, pacing itself to the dominant, 87-70 win over No. 17 San Diego State.
With the victory, the Wildcats improve to 5-0 on the season, and No. 14 Arizona will resume basketball action on Wednesday afternoon when they take on No. 10 Creighton in the Maui Invitational Finals. Tip-off for Wednesday’s game is slated for 3:00 PM MST.