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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona beats Utah 94-82 in first conference road game

Simon Asher
Arizona’s Deandre Ayton slams the ball home over Utah’s Kolbe Caldwell (2).

SALT LAKE CITY– Despite his initial slow start, Deandre Ayton scored 24 points and grabbed 14 rebounds for Arizona Men’s basketball as it beat Utah 94-82 for its first conference road win Thursday in the Huntsman Center.  

In what was a close second half, Arizona pulled away in the last three minutes of the game on a 13-3 run to improve to 12-3 overall and 2-0 in the Pac-12. 

“I just think that’s how you win games on the road,” head coach Sean Miller said. “You are not going to steamroll teams, especially like Utah.”

Ayton had one point with 7:45 to go in the first half and five points at halftime. However, he found his way to the basket in the second half and chipped in a 24 point, 14 rebound double-double on 10-for-15 shooting. Ayton cleaned up Arizona misses on the offensive glass and sliced his way through Utah double-teams to find the basket. 

“Getting the ball to him around the basket, he’ll give himself second chance shots,” Miller said. “It can wear out the other team. He was the difference tonight.”

In the second half, Utah was 6-of-6 from three in the opening 10 minutes including a 9-0 run to cut Arizona’s lead to 61-59 with 12:08 remaining. Utah continued to score and tied the game at 70 with just over five minutes to go. 

A big part of Utah’s offense came from shooting guard Sedrick Barefield, who scored 23 points and shot 6-for-11 from three.

For Arizona, Rawle Alkins trailed Ayton’s performance with 22 points of his own and grabbed seven rebounds. Alkins stopped Utah’s momentum late in the game when he came up with a breakaway steal and got to the free throw line off a Ayton turnover. 

“I was reading his eyes,” Alkins said. “It wasn’t a really strong pass, so I gambled, and it worked.” 

Overall Arizona shot 50 percent from the floor and 33 percent from three while holding Utah to 44 percent from the floor and 46 from deep. The Wildcats also out rebounded the Utes 46-to-23 and grabbed 14 offensive rebounds over Utah’s four. 

Parker Jackson-Cartwright led the Wildcats in the first half with 13 points and one assist. He found himself in foul trouble in the second half, picking up his fourth foul with seven minutes to go and had to sit. 

“Parker played like a senior point guard tonight,” Miller said. “He showed up, he was ready to go, I thought we got a really good performance from him tonight.” 

Trier played point guard for Jackson-Cartwright when he was in foul trouble. Trier collected five assists and five rebounds. He had a low scoring game, playing 36 minutes and finishing with seven points. 

“Teams are game planning for him almost every night,” Alkins said. “So when he’s not scoring he’s a decoy, because they still look at him as a threat.” 

In the first half Arizona got off to a quick start and led the Utes 10-3 at the first media timeout. Utah made a small comeback, but Arizona answered with a 9-0 run midway through the first half to put the Wildcats up 27-12. Arizona held the lead and ended the half 46-32. 

Utah started the second half with a 10-4 run to narrow the lead to 50-44 until Ayton made a layup and a foul and sparked the Wildcats offense. Arizona quickly jumped back to a 57-44 lead but Utah hit back-to-back threes to make it a seven point game with 14:20 to go in the second half. 

Arizona stays on the road and plays at Colorado on Saturday at 12:00 p.m. on PACN. 

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