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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona MBB wins its third Maui Invitational championship after close win over Creighton

Nathanial Stenchever

Kerr Kriisa, a guard on the Arizona men’s basketball team, celebrates after a teammate scores in a game on Nov. 17, in McKale Center. The Wildcats won their third game against Utah Tech Univeristy 104-77.

The Arizona men’s basketball team entered Maui undefeated and they will leave the island with an undefeated 6-0 record after beating Creighton University.

For the third time and first in eight years, Arizona has won the Maui Jim Maui Invitational championship during their eighth appearance in the tournament.

Oumar Ballo had his best game to date as a Wildcat in his career. From the start of the game he was aggressive and showed off an improved offensive game with post-up moves and a new hook shot.

He finished the game with a career-high of 30 points adding 13 rebounds on a phenomenal 14-17 shooting from the field. This is his second game of the season with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds.

This game will be remembered as the Oumar Ballo game when looking back at the 2022 Maui Jim Maui Invitational in the future.

Arizona started the game by establishing their fast pace and outscored Creighton 20-2 in the paint during the first half while leading by nine points after the first 20 minutes.

Kerr Kriisa had a rough first half after shooting the ball 2-8 from the field, but once again bounced back in a big way in the second half. He had nine points in the second half and finished the game with 13 points and nine assists while only turning the ball over one time.

In the second half, the Wildcats got into foul trouble having to use their bench early on in the half. Pelle Larsson, Azuolas Tubelis and Kriisa all had four fouls.

Arizona struggled shooting the ball in the first half but were 62% from the field during the final 20 minutes of the game.

The Wildcats had four players that scored double digits including Courtney Ramey, Tubelis, Kriisa and Ballo. Ramey had five assists, four rebounds and two steals to go along with his 10 points.

RELATED: Arizona advances to Maui Jim Invitational Championship 

This was the Wildcats’ second straight win over a top-25 team in the country. It is very likely that we will see Arizona break into the top 10 in next week’s top 25 AP poll. This a huge step forward for an Arizona program that was ranked No.17 at the beginning of the season and was not the favorite in this tournament. Head coach Tommy Lloyd labeled this the premier college basketball tournament and they proved why they deserved to be there.

Arizona has a week off before they head to Utah to face the University of Utah in their first Pac-12 matchup of the season on Dec. 1.

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